Presentation on theme: "The Introvert Advantage"— Presentation transcript:
1 The Introvert Advantage Lawyers Assistance ProgramFacilitated by Robert Bircher
2 The Introvert Advantage This workshop is based on the book by Marti Olsen Laney published in 2002 by Workman PublishingFew people are extreme introverts or extreme introverts, most of us are somewhere close to the middle of a continuumAlso these are personality temperaments and people can and do bounce around in between them-although the tests will show your particular tendencyThe purpose of this workshop is to increase self acceptance of your introversion or extroversion, not to change anything
3 There is nothing wrong with you –you’re just introverted ¾ of the general population is extroverted, whereas 2/3 of lawyers are introvertedEver wonder why you feel overwhelmed in situations where others feel invigorated?Two of my best friends are very extroverted and since I am very introverted the contrast in some situations is remarkableOne friend absolutely loves crowds-the larger and noisier the better-he and I go to the PNE and I can only handle it for about an hour and a half, he gets more energized the longer we stay. If we stay too long, I need to recover by being in a quiet place!
4 Our culture values and rewards extroverts In North America we value action, speed, competition and drive.Quietness, reflection and solitude are not valuedSome people even think introversion is some kind of a problem to be overcome-some studies even claim to say extroverts are happier! They are based on the ridiculous assumption that the characteristics of extroverts are the “right” way to be. This is pure nonsense!Because most people are extroverts, there is always pressure to “shape up and act like the rest of us” this starts even as small children
5 Introversion is GreatIt is time to stop trying to fit in and start embracing who you areIntroversion and extroversion are part of a continuum of temperament styles-few people are at the extreme ends of either style and it important to know that you can jump back and forth to the other styleI am introverted but often called upon to do “extroverted things” like teaching, which I do often and have had great success withA good way to look at it is to imagine an energy scale with introversion and extroversion at opposite ends
6 How do you get energized? People who are more introverted focus inward to gain energy, extroverts focus outward to gain energyThis fundamental difference explains the differences in behaviorIntroverts need to be alone to recharge and need breaks from too much activityIntroverted parents will need more breaks from their children, and more alone time from their spouses.The world is geared towards extroverts and so are many of the worlds expectations of what lawyers should be like-if you are an introvert in an extrovert world you may feel out of placeActually there is no problem at all-being introverted is just fine!
7 Qualities of Extroverts Like to be in the thick of thingsRelish variety, bored with samenessKnow lots of people, consider them friendsEnjoy chitchatting, even with strangersFeel stoked after activity, eager for moreSpeak or act without needing to think firstAre generally quite peppyTend to talk more than listen
8 Qualities of Introverts Prefer to relax alone or with a few close friendsConsider only deep relationships as friendsNeed rest after outside activities, even ones you enjoyOften listen but talk a lot about topics of importance to youAppear calm, self –contained, and like to observeTend to think before you speak or actExperience mind going blank in groups or under pressureDon't like feeling rushed
9 Misconceptions about Introverts Introverts need private space to refuel, do not gain energy from external activities, and take time to reflect and think before they speakThey are not loners, shy or antisocial-this is a misconceptionThey are not reclusive or retiring-many public personalities are introvertsShyness is social anxiety and can occur in both introverts and extrovert“Highly Sensitive” is usually a criticism in a law firm but in fact means a person is extremely perceptive, intuitive, observant with a fine sense of discrimination-this can occur in both introverts and extroverts
10 More MisconceptionsIntroverts may seem unsocial to extroverts, but are in fact social in a different wayIntroverts need fewer relationships, but like more connection and intimacy. Extroverts need more external stimulation since they don’t generate as much internal stimulation as introverts doIntroverts don’t generally like idle chit chat, and since it takes a lot of energy, they prefer more meaty conversations which nourish and energize themExtroverts get a stimulation hit from social sources and activities
11 Introverts unsettle Extroverts The qualities of extroverts are a cultural ideal-boldness, individuality and willingness to speak out are highly valuedIntroverts tend to:Keep energy inside; be absorbed in thought; hesitate before speaking; avoid crowds and seek quiet; proceed with caution when meeting people; not offer ideas unless asked, need significant time alone or undisturbed, reflect and act in a careful way; tend not to show emotionExtroverts may see some or all of this as weird or even believe it is evidence of mental illness!
12 Problems in Understanding Each Other Extroverts talk and think at the same time-it is effortless to themIntroverts need time to think and don’t speak with spontaneity unless it is a familiar subjectIntroverts appear cautious or passive to extrovertsTo an extrovert, introverts seem reticent and seem to be hiding or hesitating. An extrovert thinks “just spit it out!”Introverts will speak out a lot if they feel they know a lot about the subjectTo an introvert an extrovert “talks without thinking or speaks with great authority on subjects they know almost nothing about”
13 Culture and Introversion Our language shows our cultural bias towards extroversion being the “right way to be”For example; the International Dictionary of Psychology states that introversion is "a major personality trait characterized by a preoccupation with the self, lack of sociability and passiveness” Other definitions are similarThe same dictionary defines extroversion as “a tendency to direct the personality outward, the extrovert is social, a man of action, and one whose motives are conditioned by external events”The implication is clear-there is something wrong with being introverted
14 Introverts and Extroverts Introverts tend to speak slowly and are reluctant to speak with extrovertsIntroverts dislike interrupting, so they often hold backIntroverts give no hint of mental processes and thus may appear to be passive or uninterested-in fact they are usually just thinking about what people are sayingExtroverts can astonish introverts with their ability to talk with apparent authority on almost any topic-a friend of mine(a hairdresser ,who dropped out high school, once talked to a group of heart surgeons at a social event, with rock solid conviction and authority, about her views on holistic ways to deal with heart problems-her main source was a couple of magazine articles in the National Enquirer-amazingly ,they listened!)-I was shocked
15 Introverts and Extroverts It drives extroverts crazy when introverts suggest they stop reacting and reflecting before barging ahead. They want them to slow down, plan, think about consequences, and think it through before acting. Extroverts just want to “get it done, fast”In a world dominated by extroverts, most introverted children grow up receiving the message overtly and covertly that something is wrong with them. Few people grew up with families who accepted and nurtured introverted qualitiesThe culture promotes extroversion as an ideal, even convincing introverts themselves that they not only have a problem ,they are a problem!
16 Blame, Shame and Introversion Because of the fact that that extroversion is held to be “normal”, introverts can experience guilt or shame for just being introverted.ie Themselves!Shame is related to our being, we may feel unworthy or innately flawed. Guilt is the feeling of having done something wrongThe more introverted you are the more likely you are to have encountered shame and guilt about who you areYou can counteract this by self acceptance; realizing there is no problem, also by setting tough boundaries in situations or with people. For example safeguarding your alone time in relationships or saying no to excessive external stimulation
17 Lawyers and Introversion As a counselor of lawyers I have come across many situations where lawyers think there is something wrong with them because they don't like “marketing or schmoozing with clients” or they have a problem promoting themselvesMany lawyers also have problems with court appearances or media scrumsMany lawyers feel they “shouldn’t feel sensitive or shy”Many lawyers are told they need to “toughen up”When you understand introversion and the pathologizing of it-this should should be no surprise
18 Lawyers and Introversion Lawyers that criticize themselves for their introverted qualities are commonIntroversion is a type of temperament. It is not the same as shyness or having a withdrawn personality(both of which are treatable, and may be caused by poor parenting)Your introversion is not something you can change, but since it is not a problem in the first place, that is ok. The trick is to work with it-not make a problem out of it.
19 An Introvert in an Extrovert World There are many advantages to being an introverted lawyer.Most lawyers are introverts.60% of intellectually gifted people are introverts. Law requires a lot of quiet research, focus and reflection-these are introvert strengths.The problem is; one third of your fellow lawyers are extroverts and most of your clients will be-so you need to understand yourself and them to get along and to minimize problemsIntroverts like to keep to themselves. Extroverts love to meet and greet, they are on top of the firm grapevine and love socializing. They are natural self promoters and networkers. Obviously this is very useful
20 Introverts at Work Like quiet for concentration Know more than they revealCan seem quiet and aloofWill need to be asked for their opinionLike to work on long complex problemsHave great attention to detailNeed to understand why they are doing somethingDislike intrusions and interruptionsNeed to think and reflect before actingWork alone happilyPrefer to stay in office rather than socializeDo not like to draw attention to themselvesWork well without supervisionHave trouble remembering names
21 Introvert Advantages in Law There is a reason most lawyers are introvertsQuiet, focused ,deep thinking is a required skill in lawGoing into great depth in matters is very valuableLawyers need to know a lot about a specific issue and get up to speed in depthGenerally, marketing and sales have not been as important as great competence in lawThe way you make money in law is not by trying or doing new things-you make money by doing essentially the same thing over and over; quickly and efficientlyYou may lose money in your first PI/criminal/commercial deal/matrimonial-case but you will make money on your 20th caseQuiet repetition and focus is how you make money in law-core introvert skills
22 Extroverts at Work Network and socialize easily Are on top of firm “grapevine”Enjoy phone calls and like interruptions as a welcome diversionAre impatient if work is boring or repetitiveDevelop ideas through interaction and discussionGood at marketingLike to move around a lotTalk and think at the same timeLike verbal joustingAppreciate and enjoy attention
23 News Flash: Introverts can do Extrovert Things! As you can see, some of the things extroverts do are necessary for success in law-because it is not natural doesn’t mean you can’t do it or that you shouldn't do itIntroversion is not a problem to overcome, but you can and must do some of the things extroverts find easy(extroverts have their own set of problems to overcome)You will need to speak up and speak out at meetingsYou need to learn to blow your own hornYou need to do things faster
24 Introverts and Meetings Introverts tend not to speak up much at meetings for various reasons-they spend a lot of energy listening; they get deep in thought about what is being said, they are absorbing new information and need time to process itFake it till you make it introvert ideas-say hello to people as you enter goodbye when you leave, don't schedule too many meetings in a day, say something early on to establish a presence.When teaching I over-prepare so I can relax during the class
25 Introverts and Self Promotion Most lawyers, even the extroverts, don’t promote themselves. Introverted lawyers are particularly bad at thisIntroverts guard their own personal thoughts like a junkyard dog. Promoting violates this inner territoryIntroverts underestimate what they know. they take their rich emotional, intellectual and imaginative lives for granted. They often believe no one would be interested in what they knowThey also dislike being the center of attentionThis can appear remote or uncooperative to extroverts
26 Introverts Unite-Promote Yourself!!! Let others know what you are doing-don’t assume they (the extroverts)know your contributionLet your boss know what work or projects you preferAccept compliments and acknowledge yourself-compliment others
27 Slow Down-You move Too Fast Introverts move at a slower pace than extroverts-this can appear aloof or uninterested to extrovertsIntroverts need to conserve energy or they will feel exhausted and burnt out-they need a lot of time to processExtroverts can see this as being uninvolved or even incompetentIntroverts speak slowly and take pauses, because they are deep thinkers and they value being precise-this drives extroverts nutsIntroverts don’t tend to share their thinking process which causes misunderstandings. Also, they value the opinions of others but this openness to other points of view can appear to be a lack of conviction
28 Introvert Advantages What do introverts bring to the party? 60% of all gifted people are introverts, despite being a minority of the populationIntroverts bring concentration,loyalty,thoughtfulness,persistence,toughmindedness,creativity,originality, for sight, and a wide range of knowledgeIntroverts go about their day quietly improving the workplaceThey can make tough decisions and give coworkers their space-they don’t need close supervisionThey are considerate and want cooperationThey are good teachers and good listeners