February 14, 2016

INTROVERTS: PLEASE COME BACK TO REAL LIFE


You know, there are two kind of people in the world. Those who can´t wait to step on a stage, to talk in front of a crowd and to raise their hand in a meeting. Everyone of us knows minimum one extrem version of this type of people and we call them Extroverts. And there are people who are right the opposite. People who don´t like to stand out or attract attention. Who blush when pointed out. Who love contemplation and privacy. Who think deep and thorougly. And who wish their ideas are presented to the world somehow automatically or through an invisible hand. They are too humble to praise their own accomplishments: Introverts

I expect you do know where you stand - whether you are extrovert or introvert. If not, there are many tests and questionaires to get an idea towards which side you orientate yourself. Here is one out of many (test). 

Domination of Extroverts
The high-speed world we are living in today is definitely in favour of extroverts. No doubt about it. Those who open their trap, who jump in dull to take any decision, who are noisy enough so no one can´t overhear ... they are noticed, they get attention, they get support and promotion. In every meeting, conference call, brainstorming or ideation session - whenever a group of people comes together - you witness the dominance of extroverts. And even we´ve learned from Susan Cain´s fabulous TED Talk "The power of introverts" that theses people are hidden champions, true creatives and innovators, we rarely give them a chance to speak up in our bustling and fast-paced work environments.

Introverts Escape
But despite all dominance of the narcissstic extroverts the toned down introverts have found a way out. They do have an exit strategy to be heard - without the necessity to stand up and stand out. How? Well, they flee into Social Media. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter & Co. gives them a voice without the risk to blush. A platform without the threat to stumble on stage. The opportunity to raise their (virtual) hand without the feeling being observed by hundreds of eyes. So introverts write, write, wrirte - in blogs, in social communities, in online-boards and forums. They publish posts, comment on links, they like, share, tweet and retweet. Bleeding fingertips.  
Virtual reality seems like heaven to them. They can publish as much as they want. Whenever they want and how they want. No extrovert who hammers additional ideas to them. Now extrovert who bombards them immediately with questions. No arena where they have to overcome their indisposition about speaking live in public. Well, yes even in the virtual world they get comments - from other introverts and extroverts - but all written and not on a stage. Not in front of a mic or taped on camera. They have plenty of time to answer, to think through and respond with well rounded arguments. 

Do we lose the Introverts?
So everything fine, right? Extroverts rule the real world. Introverts dominate the internet. Sounds like a fair deal. But here comes a warning: a huge threat lies in this break down. If we get used to this separation we will split and drift away from each other more and more. We will unlearn how to cooperate and forget the benefits we have by working together. If extroverts are left alone in the room they will hardly come to agreements. They will jump fast and loud on the very next thought and prefer selfish ideas which give them short-term applause. If introverts only express their ideas online and never speak up in a conference room, meeting or phone call they will lose connection to their extrovert colleagues and work in parallel working environments. It´s no more a working together. Its just a next to each other. 

Introverts, please come back 
The internet with all its social media platforms offers many benefits. But I´d like to remind all Introverts that the so called "communities" online are not real. You know better than extroverts about the differences. So the more you flee into the online world, the more you shy away from real people the more you unpractice to speak up in groups, unlearn to defend an ideas in front of others and unlearn how to inspire people in the real world.
There are lot´s of myths around Introverts out there. One is that Introverts don´t like people. That´s not true. But the more they bury their voice in the internet and their ideas into virtual communities such as Facebook and Co., the more we Extroverts tend to believe that they don´t like us. So please, come back to real life. And let´s have a cup of coffee together.