Join LinkedIn Learning Developer Instructor for an in-depth discussion in this video Introversion, part of Career Clinic: Developer Insights.
- In my experience, some of the best public speakers are introverts and some of the people who are the best to work with are introverts. When you're talking to a room full of people and I think as an introvert, it's very difficult at first to learn how to do it because you think you need to act like an extrovert when you're up there at the microphone but what I found is if I just pretend I'm talking to one person and I think about how do I relate, how do I come close and be present in this moment, I think that you are a much more powerful public speaker if you're able to do that.
An extrovert might be showy and make big gestures and maybe make everybody laugh but there's a connection that only an introvert can make when you're doing public speaking and I think it's the same, it's only in a private conversation one to one. I think introverts have a great advantage there. - If someone walks up to me and starts talking to me, I can have a conversation with pretty much anyone and I love talking to people but I'm not very good at approaching people to start a conversation. So when I go to conferences or meetups or whatever, what I do is if you see two people talking together, there's a pretty good chance that they came together and they don't know other people so they're just talking to each other which means they go to a conference, they spend lots of money to go to a conference and they talk to their friends and never get anything out of it.
So find two people that are talking together and go introduce yourself. Talk about something topical. Figure out if you have common interests or something to share and then take yourself out of the conversation after a while so you don't get trapped in it 'cause it's very easy to just dive in and then be like, oh, awesome, now I can be friends with these people and I don't have to do anymore work but then you met two people. If you continuously do that, find two people, go talk to them, find two people, go talk to them, that will get you into the conversation.
It's super hard especially if you're someone like me. It's very difficult 'cause you feel like, I feel like I can't talk to people unless I have something meaningful to contribute to the conversation which means you kind of have to eavesdrop on what they're talking about or you have to come in with a starting point, right? - I have moments where I'm feeling quite extroverted and I have moments where I'm feeling introverted. It's not every one way for me. For me, I can be very, very social, quote on quote the life of the party, such and such. There are times when that switch is on and I'm feeling it, I can talk to anybody but then there are times where the switch is off and I know the switch is not gonna turn on no matter what I do so I lock myself in my hotel room or my room or my house and I just stay there.
First off, you need to know that's okay. There's nothing wrong with you. If you feel like you don't wanna be around anybody, there's nothing wrong with you. You just don't wanna be around anybody for that point and that's why these conferences exist so that you can go to them and be around like-minded people who when you go to a tech conference, it's very likely you're around a lot of people that are also very, very nervous about being in a situation where I'm not used to talking to so many people, I'm not used to having so many people around, oh my God, what am I doing? It turns out a lot of these people around you feel the exact same way and sometimes you just turn to somebody and say, hey, how are you, this is a weird social situation to be in, isn't it? You might strike a conversation with somebody.
You never know who's standing next to you at a tech conference. - So when I wanna ask questions, I generally wait till the speaker's done and I talk to them in person. I'll often do that when they're done and they've stepped off the stage or whatever. A lot of times there's a little bit of time to ask questions but oftentimes, at a technical conference, the speakers are participating as attendees as well so there's a lot of opportunity afterwards when everybody's getting coffee or whatever to ask 'em some questions and that gives me some time in between hearing their speech and talking to 'em when I could do some research and I could think about what they said and formulate a better question, maybe do some background research, so forth.
- So when you are an introvert, it's not that it's a bad thing. It's a good thing but the thing is that whenever you kind of transition yourself from being an introvert or extrovert, you actually increase the confidence in you, you become a better person, you're socially aware of the things around you and when you start doing that, you are going to build, eventually build a brand for yourself because you are probably going to be projected as being helpful, kind.
It's not that you need to change yourself from being an introvert or extrovert because that's not how you really want to do things with yourself. Being introvert is fine but when you start going towards a zone of opening up and getting to know people, you actually build a confidence in you. You build a lot of confidence in you. You grow on many levels. It's about awareness, the confidence, the ability to speak to people, the ability to understand people, the ability to listen to people. So that happens when you actually transition yourself from being an introvert to extrovert.
So it's a good thing to do and it's always nice to be an extrovert but it's not that introvert is being bad at all. That's not the case.