It’s a commonly held myth that introverts don’t want to talk. Here’s a case where I heard that assumption loud and clear, and how I proved it wrong.
When starting my self-employment journey in 2009, it occurred to me that specializing in coaching introverts would make my heart happy and would fill a big need. I floated the idea to a couple of business friends, and they both said something like this: “That’s a bad idea. No one will admit to being introverted and they will never contact you or attend your events.”
Hmmmm. That didn’t sound right to me. I knew I was on to something.
Mind you, this was years before the explosion of introvert pride sparked in 2012 (when the book Quiet came out), so they were right about the commonly held negative attitude toward introverts and people’s hesitance to admit to being introverted, but my heart told me the need was there and people would come.
I didn’t let their biased opinions stop me.
So I decided to host a free discussion for introverts to talk about their work concerns so I could learn more before jumping in. I posted the invitation on a large email list and I got two kinds of responses:
- From many introverts: “When and where?! I’ll be there!”
- From a few extroverts: “A discussion for introverts? No one will talk.”
How wrong those extroverts were. So-called “quiet” people have a lot to say.
I’ll explain what gets introverts talking, and what happened in those introvert discussions. It was wonderful.
We introverts speak quite a bit when:
- We deeply care about the topic.
- Others stop talking and start listening.
(Psst, if an introvert in your life isn’t speaking much, count to 10, slowly, before you speak again. And practice listening. You might be surprised. My extroverted friend says she does this and it helps.)
We tend to speak up when it matters to us:
What happened in my introvert discussions and my business:
So many people wanted to attend my introvert discussions that I ended up hosting four discussions, instead of the one I planned. They sure did have a lot to say, and I listened.
Their concerns and stories showed me how much they had to bear in a world that saw introversion as “less than.” And how hungry they were for solutions.
I gained insights that helped me create workshops and services that eventually led to a thriving business focused on coaching for introverts.
As for the two people who originally said it was a bad idea… they ended up hiring me and referring others to me over the years. I’m only realizing this in hindsight as I recall those early days. How interesting that they came around!
I’m glad I listened to my inner Knowing instead of others’ opinions. Ah, listening to our inner knowing is a big topic that really gets me talking! I’ll definitely say more on that in future posts, and I already wrote a little about my experience with trusting my intuition here.)
5 Lively Conversations Among Caring Introverts
Want to hear what introverts are talking about?
Here is a list of popular conversations that happened in my online group (now archived), The Caring Introvert Clubhouse. (These links will work if you were a member of the group.)
- What’s coming soon for you that feels restorative for your introvert soul? What’s coming soon that feels challenging?
- I cry easily. Do you relate?
- Tired of hearing “Why are you so quiet?” and how to respond.
- My ups and downs with public speaking. What’s your experience?
Think about it: What gets you talking?
What’s on your mind? Questions about introversion? Annoying things at work? Comments welcome below.