Loud, bombastic, confident, self-assured - for better or worse these are all words my team would use to describe me and yet I am an introvert, couldn’t be more introverted in many respects. I am a true INTJ (introverted, intuitive, thinking and judging personality type).
It seems silly to say but, I have always been an introvert, I am not shy or retiring or underconfident, but then neither are introverts, they are just quieter, more considered, less front-footed and often, crucially, out of place in the modern working world and especially comms.
We live in a world designed for extroverts, where loud people who push themselves forwards do better whether we like it or not, where the people you gravitate towards, the charming ones, seem to find networking and awkward situations a total breeze and always appear to be doing something that is progressing them.
Part of the challenge is the misunderstanding of who your introverts are, they are not always the quiet ones, although often, comparatively they are. They are the ones who need time on their own however, the ones who restore their power and energy from being by themselves as opposed to surrounded by people or in the loudest of settings. But we have preconceptions about introverts and I suspect those preconceptions inhibit them from climbing as far or as fast as their extroverted counterparts when it comes to communications because after all, we are communicators, right?
But there are radically different forms of communications and, arguably, in the world where people can’t date without an app or hold a conversation in a queue, it is the silent communicators who are your secret weapons. The considered ones, the analysts, watching everything, taking it all in and synthesising what they see into something new and often highly creative. We need this viewpoint now more than ever, when the world is disconnecting from comms that don’t engage them absolutely in five seconds flat, we need the power of saying a lot with a little - it is a superpower.
It wasn’t until I read Quiet that I came to truly appreciate my introversion, or perhaps the introverts that work for me. It has only been in valuing myself as an introvert that I think I have truly stepped into the power and potential of it and come to appreciate the tremendous advantage of the ways in which I am, we are, different.
As with all things you need a balance, too much of one is not enough - as the song goes, but our unconscious bias towards the extroverts in comms industries likely has us looking in the wrong direction for a lot of what we need, most particularly in these uncertain times.
Written by Samantha Losey, MD of strategic communications agency Unity
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