How does an introvert get heard in today’s world? I think about this issue frequently.
I actively network with my peers, take active leadership roles in the groups I’m involved in, speak publicly as often as time permits; I even tweet and participate on Google+ frequently. I do all these things not because they come naturally (they don’t) but because I believe very deeply in contributing to the communities I am a part of.
TED recently posted a presentation by Susan Cain on the “The Power of Introverts”. The presentation is 20 minutes long and it is worth the time. I was moved to the point of tears at the power and significance of Susan’s call to action (and the standing ovation she received). There is no right or wrong when it comes to being an introvert or an extrovert; there is just what is: how things occurs to you; where (or how) do you recharge.
I’d like to suggest a message to extroverts: you are already really great a dealing with people and being heard, but please don’t forget the rest of us who aren’t. Look for ways to support and be understanding of the introverts you work with, live with, or just meet. Make sure that their ideas get heard, that they don’t get left in the dust of the social tornado we live in.
Likewise, I want to suggest a message to introverts: your contribution is valuable, find a way to be heard. Maybe you won’t tweet compulsively or have the most followers; just don’t let that stop you from making a contribution. Join a speaking group like Toastmasters (I am in a local chapter, TechMasters-TC, which focuses on computers and technology), extend your network, tweet however often you feel comfortable; just don’t let your unique insights and contribution to the world around you be muted just because it doesn’t come naturally.
For my part, life is much richer when I’m sharing my ideas than when I was wondering why no one was listening to them.