Introverts and Extraverts

Run the following ad in any newspaper:
2006 Honda Civic DX 4dr, White, 63,000 miles, $8,100. Call 555-1212

These are the questions you’ll be asked by nearly half your callers:
“What year is that Honda Civic? Is it a 2-door or 4-door? What color? How many miles on it? How much are you asking?”

I know this because I bought and sold an average of 3 cars a month for the first several years Pennie and I were married. I’ve answered these questions many hundreds of times and in every instance the information was in the newspaper ad.

I always wanted to ask, “Where did you get this phone number?”

Then a few years ago Dr. Richard D. Grant  taught me the difference between introverts and extraverts.

Introversion and extraversion don't refer to shyness and boldness. They refer only to how you charge your emotional batteries. Introverts gain energy from internal contemplation, centering, and quiet time. Extraverts gain energy from external people, places, and things.

I’m an introvert. Those car questions were asked by extraverts. Contrary to what introverts like to think, extraverts aren’t stupid. They simply prefer the spoken word to the written.

Books are written for introverts. Audiobooks are recorded for extraverts.

Introverts rarely say what they are thinking.
They say only what they have thought. Introverts think to talk.

Extraverts talk to think.

When introverts get stuck, they close the door, turn off the radio, take the phone off the hook and go deep inside themselves to find the answer.  When extraverts get stuck they strike up a conversation with someone. This gets the mental flywheel spinning again and sure enough, within moments, out pops an idea. Extraverts get their best ideas during conversation.

Although nearly half our population is introverted, the US maintains a strongly extraverted social etiquette:

Focus groups measure the opinions of extraverts.
Churches plan social events for extraverts.
Companies hand out promotions to extraverts
and sales trainers teach us how to sell to extraverts. 

Do you remember the old sales adage, “close early, close hard and close often?” This may be a sure way to keep your extraverted customer engaged in conversation and “flush out” their true objection, but you’ll just as surely alienate your introverted customers. Good luck with that.

Extraverts think introverts are socially inept.
Introverts think extraverts are noisy.
What extraverts call “reaching out to someone,” introverts call an invasion of privacy. Extraverts prefer to work in teams. Introverts do their best work alone.

Given their polar opposite preferences, can introverts and extraverts work well together, become partners, be happily married?

Absolutely.

The key to showing courtesy to an extravert is to listen to them more than you think is necessary. Maintain eye contact, nod your head and smile.

The key to showing courtesy to an introvert is to give them time and space for reflection and processing. Don’t bombard them with questions or subject them to a barrage of jabber when they’re “all peopled out.” Give them an uninterrupted hour to read the mail and they’ll soon be ready to hear about your day.

Do it however works best for you,
but keep your emotional batteries charged.

Happy Holidays.

Roy H. Williams

PS: If you want a thing done cheerfully, ask an extravert to do it. If you want it done well, ask an introvert. Introverts are a minority in the general population but they’re the majority of the gifted. 

On December 9 the Wizard Academy campus plummeted from 80-degree Summer into subfreezing Winter in less than 6 hours. Chauncey took photos and posted them on Flickr. Good ol'Chauncey.

The Journey of the Wise Men is an annual event on the campus of Wizard Academy.