Quiet, please

Are you introverted?

Would you rather read a book or engage in deep conversation with one person than engage in small talk with acquaintances? Do you work better in solitude? Are you drained after being around many people?

If so, you do not have a personality flaw, or a defect that needs to be cured. It’s how you are neurobiologically wired. While there are many benefits of introversion, it can be a problem in a world that favours extroversion.

It’s a problem particularly in environments and groups where extroverts (the people who think out loud) are heard more than the people who need time and space to reflect and think deeply before speaking.

Introverts aren’t quiet in groups because they’re uninterested or don’t have thoughts of their own. They don’t need to ‘come out of their shell’. What they need is respect for the way they think and work.

Unlike extroverts, solitude is important to them – it’s often where their best ideas happen.

In order to prevent groupthink and foster creativity amongst a group of introverts and extroverts, there needs to be time and space built into the process of group work so that those who observe more than they speak, and who need to time to think in silence, can come to the table with their insights.

If we only listen to the people who think out loud, we’re missing out on important, untapped contributions from the kinds of people who often have the most innovative ideas.

Considering few revolutions were ever invented by a group of people, it’s essential for us to respect that different people think differently.

The loudest people in the room, the ones who talk the most, don’t always have the best ideas.