I am going on my 25th year in the business world (since I was 18) and 24 of owning my own business. You must think that I’ve gone to a lot of meetings to network. Well I haven’t. Probably can count on both hands in 25 years.
You might think I have met a lot of prospects of business associates for lunch, coffee or drinks to discuss business. I haven’t. Very very few.
You might think in a business meeting I am working the room making small talk with anyone I can. Never.
I’m an introvert to the extreme. They see me give my speech in the most extroverted way possible and then walk off stage and turn into a different guy. It’s not a different guy. It’s who I am and the speech is a performance. It’s two different worlds.
You may say, ‘Ron, I’ve met you for drinks, dinner, lunch, coffee, etc.’ You are right there are a few. In the last 2 years I can think of about 5-6 people.
The best way I can describe an introvert for me is:
You know that discomfort you feel when you stand on a stage in front of 1,000 and have to have something to say? Well, I don’t feel that. Not at all. I’m very calm and at home there. But that feeling you feel on that stage in front of 1,000 is the way I (an introvert) feel talking to 1 person.
As a kid I idolized Johnny Carson and it wasn’t until I was an adult did I understand he was an introvert. A man who shined on stage but introverted off and I don’t think it made him an asshole.
The next time you meet someone and they aren’t a bubbly, cheerleader with complete charisma leaning in to the conversation don’t assume they are a jerk. It’s possible they just have a different personality than you.
Here is a list of things about introverts I just found that is really good.
Myth #1 : Introverts don’t like to talk.
This is not true. Introverts just don’t talk unless they have something to say. They hate small talk. Get an introvert talking about something they are interested in, and they won’t shut up for days.
Myth #2 : Introverts are shy.
Shyness has nothing to do with being an Introvert. Introverts are not necessarily afraid of people. What they need is a reason to interact. They don’t interact for the sake of interacting. If you want to talk to an Introvert, just start talking. Don’t worry about being polite.
Myth #3 : Introverts are rude.
Introverts often don’t see a reason for beating around the bush with social pleasantries. They want everyone to just be real and honest. Unfortunately, this is not acceptable in most settings, so Introverts can feel a lot of pressure to fit in, which they find exhausting.
Myth #4 : Introverts don’t like people.
On the contrary, Introverts intensely value the few friends they have. They can count their close friends on one hand. If you are lucky enough for an introvert to consider you a friend, you probably have a loyal ally for life. Once you have earned their respect as being a person of substance, you’re in.
Myth #5 : Introverts don’t like to go out in public.
Nonsense. Introverts just don’t like to go out in public FOR AS LONG. They also like to avoid the complications that are involved in public activities. They take in data and experiences very quickly, and as a result, don’t need to be there for long to “get it.” They’re ready to go home, recharge, and process it all. In fact, recharging is absolutely crucial for Introverts.
Myth #6 : Introverts always want to be alone.
Introverts are perfectly comfortable with their own thoughts. They think a lot. They daydream. They like to have problems to work on, puzzles to solve. But they can also get incredibly lonely if they don’t have anyone to share their discoveries with. They crave an authentic and sincere connection with ONE PERSON at a time.
Myth #7 : Introverts are weird.
Introverts are often individualists. They don’t follow the crowd. They’d prefer to be valued for their novel ways of living. They think for themselves and because of that, they often challenge the norm. They don’t make most decisions based on what is popular or trendy.
Myth #8 : Introverts are aloof nerds.
Introverts are people who primarily look inward, paying close attention to their thoughts and emotions. It’s not that they are incapable of paying attention to what is going on around them, it’s just that their inner world is much more stimulating and rewarding to them.
Myth #9 : Introverts don’t know how to relax and have fun.
Introverts typically relax at home or in nature, not in busy public places. Introverts are not thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies. If there is too much talking and noise going on, they shut down. Their brains are too sensitive to the neurotransmitter called Dopamine. Introverts and Extroverts have different dominant neuro-pathways. Just look it up.
Myth #10 : Introverts can fix themselves and become Extroverts.
A world without Introverts would be a world with few scientists, musicians, artists, poets, filmmakers, doctors, mathematicians, writers, and philosophers. That being said, there are still plenty of techniques an Extrovert can learn in order to interact with Introverts. (Yes, I reversed these two terms on purpose to show you how biased our society is.) Introverts cannot “fix themselves” and deserve respect for their natural temperament and contributions to the human race. In fact, one study (Silverman, 1986) showed that the percentage of Introverts increases with IQ.