Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Introvert/Extrovert Continuum

First of all, here are a couple of definitions of introvert that I really like:
Wikipedia and About.com

Both Mary and I have taken the Myers Briggs test a number of times, and we both consistently score as introverts. But the thing is, there are differences in how strongly one presents as an introvert. The continuum looks something like this:

Introvert 5__4__3__2___1___I/E__1__2__3__4__5 Extrovert

A higher score on the introvert or extrovert side of the continuum indicates a strong preference, meaning you are pretty solidly in the introvert or extrovert camp. But as Mary said, that doesn’t necessarily indicate skills. For example, Mary scores highly on the introvert scale which places her firmly in the introvert camp. I, on the other hand, show only a slight preference toward introversion, scoring usually in the one or two range, which puts me fairly close to the middle.

Yet Mary is a much better public speaker than I am. By a huge margin. Even though I am closer to the extrovert scale, my throat closes up when I have to speak in public and I start to hyperventilate. Which illustrates the point she made that one’s comfort level in public speaking simply isn’t a reliable indicator.

Which is a very long way of saying that even if you show a very strong predilection for being an introvert, it does not mean you are doomed to a lifetime of never mastering the art of public speaking or being in a crowd. Skills can be acquired.

Here is one more quiz for your personal, procrastinating pleasure. This one is much less scientific than the Kiersy one, but I really liked the questions and thought they spoke to some core preferences of introverts. Although it does shoot holes in my previous scores of being almost equally introvert and extrovert, which I've never completely believed anyway. So it works for me.

You Are 10% Extrovert, 90% Introvert

You avoid people at all costs
You aren't one for social interaction
And you limit your interaction to a select few
Thank God for self checkout!

(And just when IS self checkout coming to my area, I'd like to know?!)

Lastly, I’d also like to share with you a secret weapon you may not even realize you have. Introverts may not be feel comfortable speaking in front of a group, or have vast networks of contacts, but many introverts are great at forming personal connections. We’re really good at that one-on-one stuff. And when broken down to it’s purest essence, that’s what marketing and promoting is really about, connecting with a reader or buyer. So maybe introverts don't do it en masse, but then Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither, necessarily, is an author’s readership.

No comments: