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Shattering Misconceptions about Introverts Thriving Professionally
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Shattering Misconceptions about Introverts Thriving Professionally

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 | Apr 27, 2023
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Summary

In this insightful episode, Jeri Bingham, an advocate for introverts and host of the HushLoudly podcast, discusses her personal experience with the strengths of introverts, the significance of embracing one's introversion, and how introverted individuals with their unique introverted traits can excel in all life areas.

Jeri shares with Matthew her valuable insights on forming deep relationships and navigating social interactions as an introvert, with a focus on mental health and deep thinking. Their conversation also covers the importance of verbal communication in the context of introversion. They emphasize the need for organizations to appreciate a variety of leadership styles, especially those inherent to introverts, and the balance between introverts and extroverted individuals in the workplace, advocating for a supportive environment that encourages diverse perspectives and emotional intelligence.

In This Episode We Talk About

  1. Debunking misconceptions about introverts and their capabilities, highlighting the personality traits that introverts possess, and their potential as excellent leaders
  2. Jeri's journey to embrace her introversion, a personal development path marked by self-reflection and personal brand development, underscoring the role of introversion in personal and professional dynamics
  3. The importance of self-awareness, well being, and understanding one's personality in forming meaningful relationships and advancing professional growth, with emphasis on social settings and social anxiety
  4. The unique power of introverts in areas like sales, leadership, and teamwork, utilizing skills such as actively listening, decision making, deep thinking, and how these abilities foster creativity in various settings
  5. The need for achieving a workplace balance between introverts and extroverts
  6. How introverts’ introspective natures and problem-solving skills are huge professional assets
  7. The importance of considering our extroverted peers when promoting a culture that fosters creativity and values diverse perspectives
  8. Tips for introverted individuals to flourish in their professional lives, including strategies for networking events, effective written communication, and embracing alone time for self-care

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About Jeri Bingham

About Jeri Bingham
Jeri Bingham is a seasoned marketing and communications professional with over 25 years of experience working with Fortune 100 companies. She is the creator and host of the HushLoudly podcast, where she interviews introverted leaders, entrepreneurs, and professionals to discuss their journeys and share insights on how introverts can thrive in today's fast-paced world. As an introvert herself, Jeri is passionate about challenging stereotypes and redefining what it means to be an introvert in both personal and professional settings. In addition to her work on the podcast, Jeri speaks at conferences and events, sharing her expertise on introversion and empowering individuals to embrace their quiet strengths.

About Matthew Pollard

About Matthew Pollard
Called the real deal by Forbes, Matthew is a small business advocate, introvert champion, Rapid Growth® Coach, and keynote speaker. Responsible for five multimillion-dollar success stories before the age of 30, today Matthew is an internationally recognized sales and networking expert, author of the bestselling Introvert’s Edge series, and host of two top-ranked podcasts. His work has transformed over 3500 struggling businesses to date.

Read the Transcript

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Matthew: Hello, everyone, and welcome back to the Introvert’s Edge podcast. And I’m ecstatic to welcome our next guest, Jeri Bingham, who not only is an adjunct professor at Northwestern, she’s a radio host, she’s a TV host. She’s worked in government, in universities and colleges. If anyone’s going to give us a great understanding of how introversion affects you, no matter what career path you’re in, it’s Jeri.

And not only did she talk about introversion, what really excites me about what Jeri’s going to share with you is she talks about inclusion in general and how personality fits bang inside that. So and so for me, telling you about what she’s going to share, let’s get straight into the content. Jeri, welcome to the show.

Jeri: Hi. Thank you for having me. So happy to be here.

Matthew: I’m ecstatic to have you with us. And I was really interested as I’d gone through some of your podcast in the past and also checking out that you founded Black Introvert Week and really realizing that what you talk about it, it’s really interesting because you kind of blending the topic of introversion and personality into the whole equality conversation.

What drove you to do that and why do you think it’s so important that people see introversion as part of the general inclusion conversation? In general.

Perspectives on Inclusion as an Introverted Black Woman

Jeri: I think it’s so important, especially since there’s so much attention, resources, strategies that are being tied to diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging right now as companies understand why they need to be supportive of their employees in different ways. Diversity is about our differences, but it’s also about our commonalities and how we celebrate and support each other. And as everyone’s talking about how we’re different, personality type roles right in there, and as a person who’s been misunderstood for all of her life.

And that’s just and feeling as I didn’t fit in and feeling like I’m a weirdo and feeling like something was wrong with me. I’m on a mission now to educate the world about introversion and why we’re special and why wherever wild we are just as good, if not better, in certain areas than our counterparts. Extroverts. We all know that we live in a world that celebrates and rewards extroversion.

What about the other half of the world? And I’m talking about this specifically to companies and colleges and universities, because if you think about it, those experts say 50% of the world is introverted. That number has changed. I know years ago people were saying it was one third the latest statistics from the Myers-Briggs company in 2020, he that is 57% of the world is introverted.

But knowing that or solving that, half of your team, half of your company’s introverted and you’re only paying attention to the extroverts, think about what you’re losing out on. Think about how this could impact your bottom line. If you’re only create a space and an environment that rewards one type but not the other, then me the other type is just showing up, just maybe doing the minimal, just doing whatever to get by.

But what if you create a space that empowers down and makes them, gives them what they need to succeed, to thrive, then that can impact your company’s bottom line. So it’s like you’re paying 100%, but you’re only getting something from her. And so is important to talk about introversion in that way. And as I’ve been talking and on this mission about introversion, there have been all of these things that I’ve experienced as a black woman and being an introvert.

So that intersectionality and I was talking to people and then other people would say, wait a minute, this has happened to me. And I realize it’s not just me. I realize that it’s a thing. It’s a thing. And as I talked to myself, Tina sisters and my gay brothers and sisters, I’ve heard amazing stories about how when your introversion is tied to being a black woman, all of those additional stereotypes come in about introverted black women.

So we’re always already dealing with the stigma of intimacy. You’re quite you’re a hermit. You may not be as smart. You are social, you like people, You don’t leave the house. We deal with that first. And then on top of that, if you’re a black woman, you may also deal with the stereotypes of what a black woman historically has been seen in the media.

And when you see a black woman in the media and I’m talking about television shows even from the seventies eighties, she may be that drill sergeant who gets everybody online or she may be highly comedic and just hilarious, or she may be overly nurturing the mother, the person that took care of everyone in the house and when I show up and I’m not animated, I may not wear all of my feelings on my sleeves, on my in my office.

I don’t really tell you who I am. People have their families and all that. I don’t really do that. And so you’re left to figure me out. And the way that you figure me out is you think about your image of the black woman. And so when I may be quieter or just not talking as much, there may be this assumption, Oh, she’s me.

And the reason I got into this is because I’ve heard it a million times at almost every job I started. People will tell me a month later, I used to think you were mean, and I would say mean I’m so soft and nice. So that mean confuses me. And then I would I’ll always ask, well, why me? And no one can articulate it.

They’ll say, I don’t know. I just thought.

Matthew: They projecting it. They’re projecting it.

Introverts Tend to Be Marginalized

Jeri: And I think it’s based on the stereotypes of what they think of a black woman. And I have a friend, a Latina, who said she gets the same thing. She said that people are looking for the oversexualized, sassy, fast talking Latina woman that they seen on TV. And when she comes in and her demeanor is more quiet and more low key, it’s like she said, not only is it, she can tell they’re confused, but she said they all.

She also thinks that they may be disappointed. Like we hired the hot, spicy Latina, which we thought we were going to get and we didn’t get that. And what this leads to is it’s not just a feeling of discomfort, but think about how you may not want to pick me for a key assignment. You may not want to give me a bonus.

You may say she’s not acting like I expect her to act. So I don’t know if she made the right decision. Is she the right hire? And this now causes an additional issue where I could be discriminated against in that way. We don’t want to include Jerry. She doesn’t say enough or we don’t know or she’s me. And all of this comes from, I think, just a misunderstanding.

And and so that’s why I talk not only about introversion and exclusivity for the introvert, but also our other identities. So these other marginalized groups, same thing for my gay friends. So I have a gay male friend who’s six foot four, so he’s a little sort of domineering and he’s a tall guy, and he has talked with me about how when he comes into a company and when people figure out that he’s gay, whether it’s what he shares of what they think they know, he said, as a black male, I have to be friendly because of all the stereotype types of the black man.

Many people are afraid of the image of the black man. So he said, I have to be friendly even when I don’t want to be, when I don’t feel I have to be. For once they find out I’m gay, I can’t be too friendly because then that is what is this guy trying to do. Is this guy trying to hit on me?

And because he’s not outward, he’s not living his life out loud. They can’t read him as all this is what they create in their minds and they can be held against you. And I think this goes on and along with anyone who is belonging to a marginalized group and may be introverted as well.

Misconceptions about Being Introverted

Matthew: So I think this is really interesting because I think what you’ve just highlighted is this is a bit of a tangled mess. And yes, when I look at it, it’s so I will I will tell you, I was I was on a in the UK a podcast about Neurodivergent and they were talking about that. There’s a whole other tangled mess over there and they were talking about a lot of neurodivergent sie like it’s a disadvantage and it’s the same thing I see in introversion.

Why do we talk about it about it as a disadvantage? There’s some real advantages to it as well, but there were some issues with all of people’s understanding of what introversion was, what these neurodivergent issues were, and what the gender diversity issues also were. And I think that it really comes down to the fact that a lot of people don’t actually even understand what introversion is. People will say, Oh introverts can’t be good leaders. They’re not good in leadership roles. Extroverts are the only ones who are good at that stuff, that sort of thing.

And it was interesting. I had Meredith Arthur, who is the chief of staff of one of the larger divisions in at Pinterest, and she she’s written a book that’s all around not overcomplicating things. And she had always felt that she dealt with chronic anxiety. And because of that, she speaks to that a lot. And then I started to help her.

We kind of had a conversation. I said, maybe a lot of this is because you’re introvert, and she thought she was extroverted, and it came up in the conversation that she pushes herself to do all these things. She aspires to be extroverted, not that anybody should, but she is because she thought that’s what people wanted. But that meant she was having all this anxiety after the fact because she was trying to behave somewhat like someone that she wasn’t.

So what I really love to say about these types of dialogs is, firstly, we need to get rid of the complication about what introversion is. It’s just how you draw your energy. That is it. It doesn’t predict your business or personal life. And there is both positives and negatives, just like anything else. Maybe you like meaningful conversations, quieter settings. Ok. Introverts bring a lot to the table, extroverts do too. They’re just not the only ones.

What I don’t like to see, though, especially as we start to look at this tangled mess, is a lot of times we have schools that say that Jonny needs to get better at being more extroverted and so the problem starts there, but it then gets worse and worse is worse as we don’t get hired, we don’t even get looked at for management positions, perhaps because we’re introverted, perhaps because we are seen as a mad black, you know, pick, pick your gender, pick you pick your cultural issue, pick anything or but all of a sudden that then has a problem. And all of this leads to two problems. One is, as organizations in schools, how much responsibility should we take and how can we start to fix that situation?

And then from the other side, as an introverted black woman, as a introverted white male, as a anything, whereas as an Hispanic extrovert that can’t stop talking and has trouble with active listening, how do you take responsibility for it? Because if you’re jumping from organization to organization, because they’re not giving you the opportunities, the only thing you can really change is yourself.

So if you’re trying to navigate this situation and dealing with many of these issues of inclusion, not just introversion, what advice would you give to organizations and what advice would you give to the person that regardless of the organization that they work for, is at the mercy of the decisions that those organizations make?

Introverted Leaders and Team Members – Dropping the Stigma

Jeri: Let me start with a person, and this is a great conversation and a great question. You have to find your way. It touched me talking about the woman, as you mentioned, who is basically fueling her own anxiety, trying to be someone that she’s not. And I think that this is common. I think there are lots of people who don’t realize that they’re introverts.

And I’ve run into quite a few as well. And once they make this realization and understanding, they start to do things a little differently. Because I would believe it is a superpower. I do believe that we have things that others do not have, and so we have to figure out how to use those best to our ability. So it is our responsibility to when we go into a company, we now know what’s on our head.

I feel like I know when I come in there’s going to be a stigma tied to my introversion. I do not need to say I’m an introvert and I don’t say it typically because people don’t understand it. And I think that would block you from even getting in the door. So if I’m interviewing, what I will do is talk about my style and I will ask what are the expectations So often, just like my job now.

So I’m working for the report. So the president and I asked his style what was his expectations? And I talked about my style without ever saying the word introvert and I talked about how I excel in one on ones and I ask lots of questions and I may send you an email at 1 a.m. because the way my brain process is ideas may come to me later.

I explain how I may be in a conference room so I can present, but I need time to prepare if I have no time to prepare, I can present. But you won’t get the best Jeri. As if you had given me an agenda or given me an idea or something a day before that I could really plan and think through.

Because I’m going to do my research. I’m done. I’m a detailed person, I’m organized. So all of these things. And so I’m teaching him how to treat me and how to get the best out of me. And so I urge introverts to do the same. Now, you’re already in a position, and so you have it had this conversation.

There are still ways that you can shine your light if you’re a better writer than a speaker, write the best damn email that you can and all of the justification and all the points and all of the thoughts that you have that are going to support this decision that will push forward with the mission or whatever you’re trying to do and organize it in your way, do that, and then sit down with your manager of whoever needs to see it and walk them through it, explain it, send it to them, let them process it and then explain it.

So what are you great at? If you’re a great writer, use that. If you are maybe an artist or have a creative flair, but say you’re working in a business, you’re not there as an artist, but if you’re an illustrator or something, why not present the problem or present using your illustration? You can let your light shine through that way and you will be seen differently.

That’s something unique that no one else will do it. Other people are up presenting for 10 minutes and you did out with this illustration or this animation or this song or this poem or something. And I am not saying that you can use this in a law firm. You need to understand where you are and understand your audience.

So if you know that’s not going to flood now, that’ll fly at a university or it depends on the type of work environment, then might not fly in a law firm, it might not fly with the CEO of the hospital. And so you have to figure out knowing your audience and your strengths, how you can shine your light, because there definitely is a way.

Another thing I think introverts need to do we are the best listeners and observers. We don’t miss a thing. We see everything. So while everybody else is busy talking and moving around, take your notes on what you observe and then when you get later on, talk to the decision maker and let them know about the body language that you observe those social cues, whatever you’re watching in the news or whatever you’re reading, and tie it in and tie in those trends so you can show your value in that way.

Instead of trying to masquerade as an extrovert and show it another way, you can ask the most insightful question. And if you ask the right question in a boardroom, four people will think you’re brilliant. And we have those insightful questions because we’re in our heads, We’re thinking things through. We’re in our inner world. And so ask those questions.

And it also is a way that you can be vocal because a lot of introverts here, we want you to talk more. We want you to speak up more, do it inner Question So there are, I feel like a few tips, things like that, that we can do. But you have to figure out what is that special thing that you have?

What is your family come to you for? What do your friends come to you for? Are you the planner? So for the vacations they say, okay, Jerry, you planned. Why? It’s because you’re good at it. So if you don’t know what it is, you have to figure out what it is. And there is a way that you do bring it into the work environment.

And on the other hand, for the companies, I just need people to just see us. Everyone’s out shouting to the rooftops that you know, all of this, the I and you really need to see us. Don’t just say it, but see us and create environments that will help us thrive. Less. Think differently about these meetings. Let’s make sure that we have an agenda and not just an agenda before the meeting that says five bullet points.

What are your outcomes? What are you looking to get out of this league? You will get so much more out of your introverts if a day or two before you say at the end this meeting, I hope to have X, Y and Z that will give your introversion time to think about it. Give them also the opportunity. How can they get that information?

Can they email it to you? Can they present it there? What? Give us some options. And I think that also back to the bottom line, get the most out of all of your employees, your employee. You’re hired, you’re paying for all of us. So get what you can. And that one little thing which I think is so simple at the is invaluable.

Of course, the open office spaces, those suck. Nobody wants that to be in a row. I shouldn’t say that. Some people love it because as we know, they thrive off the energy of the other bodies. And B, but understand, do you have an empty office that you could book asked a call it whatever you want, the tank or whatever, and have a space.

If your introverts are in cubicles, have a space where a person could go a recharge or meditate and just sit and be still with the work from home environment, with the sheltering in place, most of the introverts I know thrived. You know why? It was because we could build our all environment. We could control our lighting, our temperature when we eat what we eat, if we want to take a break to step outside.

And so I noticed and in the conversations with my friends, we thrived in that versus our extroverted friends who many had a struggle. They had a hard time being alone or just being in the home with their family and not energizing with others. So I think that companies need to learn from that. What was their productivity like during shelter in place?

Did it go through the roof? Did they did their introverts rock it out? What how was it as a what can they do to bring that into the workspace, whether it’s a hybrid environment or whatever. But I just urge companies to just really so, really mean what they say when they talk about inclusivity. And it’s not just about including people of color, it is about including personality types, sexual orientation, who you love, where you love.

It’s about including all of that and find to celebrate and honor the differences as well as the commonalities. That was a long, long answer to that question. It was a very.

Getting Out of Organizational Groupthink

Matthew: It was a double ended question, though, so I knew it was going to take a while to end. So but it was an important answer, though, because I think for a lot of people it’s so easy to point the finger and say they should be doing it, whether it’s the corporation saying the staff member should be doing it or vice versa.

And I think we all have a lot to learn because for me on forever telling CEOs or senior leaders that if you are having a meeting and you like Sarah to speak up in the meeting, don’t get resent her because she doesn’t send her what the agenda is going to be. And highlight that you’re hoping Sarah can talk about this specific point because she’s always got great ideas about these things.

And this is where you really hoping that she contributes. Nobody’s going to have an issue with that. But then on the other hand, Sarah, who gets frustrated constantly getting asked the question on the fly, never having an answer, could also say, hey, you know, to her boss, I notice that we’ve got a meeting on the books for tomorrow.

We haven’t got really a set agenda, and I’d love to reflect on what we’re going to be talking about so I can make sure we keep the meeting on point. Also, I can make sure I give the most value. Can you provide me the agenda? So as organization, we all need to get better at helping our leaders, better manage our introverts, or if we’re introverted leaders, perhaps helping our other introverted staff members become more successful, and even the haves helping our extroverted staff members not just talk out loud because they’ve got an idea if it’s not potentially a well formed thought out idea.

So planning wins in every thing that we do, but we have to learn that there are things we can do ourselves and things organizations should be doing, but we can’t rely on an organization to do it. And we also can’t rely on our staff members to step up just because we put those opportunities there, because for the longest time they’ve been taught that introversion is a bad thing.

And I know that when we all started bringing out these tests, it was like we qualified people as introverted GET Oh, so that’s it, Your career is over, right? You’re in that safe job where no one can hurt you for the rest of your life, and that’s the last thing that we want. So I think that and it was interesting, I did the survey for the HP Leadership Summit, which is all the senior leaders for all the major sales companies, all corporations, sales teams.

And I just talked with their introverted or extrovert and the number of responses of I was introverted, but don’t worry, I’m not anymore. And that just speaks to the fact that everybody still knows it’s a bad thing. Yes, there’s nothing wrong with being an introvert, just like there’s nothing wrong with being an extrovert. Just there’s nothing wrong with being of any gender, culture, religion.

It’s just there are things that make us unique. And as organizations, we need to get past that homogenous group and get out of groupthink. Otherwise we won’t be able to be as competitive moving forward and remembering that if you think that introverts can’t do small talk. Oprah Winfrey. Ellen DeGeneres. David Letterman. Introverted think they can’t network. I’ve been mired in the founder of I, the world’s largest networking group in the world.

Introverted, can’t sell. Zig Ziglar was an introvert. We’ve got to start breaking these barriers. And what I love and it’s really interesting, like all of these barriers that were breaking in gender, race, these are all relatively new conversations when you think about careers and organizations or small business owners as a whole, this is all relatively new stuff. So it’s okay that we don’t get it yet and we’re figuring it out, but we have to remember not to project onto people.

Yes, I’m very comfortable talking about my introversion. I keep trying to get during National Introverts Week this year I send out all these images saying, Surprise, I’m an introvert or I’m a proud introvert, and I didn’t put any branding on it because I wanted it to just be about them, not about me. And yet there were some people that were scared to post that because they were worried that their organization would see that as a bad thing.

We have to stop all of this from happening and I’m so glad we can talk about it from an introversion perspective now. Now, the fact that we get to talk about it now is great, but let’s face it, you’re at a point in your career now where I bet you you wished that we started talking about it before you were born and then perhaps things would have been different for you.

So I really want to hear a little bit because there are people listening to this from countries all over the world that aren’t used to hearing this material. As you were growing up, I’d love to know a little bit about how you discovered you were an introvert and when that was. But what do you wish to perhaps your parents, perhaps your teachers, perhaps your first bosses did differently to perhaps allow you to be your best self, to perhaps be the Zig Ziglar or the Ivan Meissner or the Oprah Winfrey withinside your organization or within your school to allow you to lean into being your best you?

Jeri’s Story

Jeri: Yeah, I think then growing up, I had typical parents. My mom was definitely an extreme extrovert and my dad was an introvert before I knew those words. And so mom always wanted to push me to do all the social things that I didn’t want to do, whether it’s become a cheerleader or just go to different things and I would go and I would hate some of the things.

And then as I got older, my dad would say, She doesn’t want to go to that, leave her alone. And then my mom would. And I was that straight A’s. So I didn’t have any issues in school. But I did get what you mentioned earlier where they would say or the teachers would say, We want Jerry to speak up.

She’s so smart. We want her to talk more. And my mom never really pushed that. And she was an educator. But one thing that bothered me or that I noticed early on was growing up. So I grew up in Chicago on the South Side in a predominately middle to upper class neighborhood, were two working pairs in the household, and I was very comfortable on my coach in our house, in our backyard, playing alone, and my days or summers would consist of playing jacks and solitaire or playing with my Barbies and the other kids were all around.

Sometimes I want to play with them, sometimes I wouldn’t. But I noticed as I got older they would call me manias, and the names that they would call me were Oriole when I was younger. And Oreo means black on the outside, white on the inside. And I think that is what they just articulated because they couldn’t put their finger on it.

Why doesn’t she want to hang out with us? Why does she want now? I would sometimes, but not all the time, because I didn’t need to. I didn’t care to. And then as I got older, I noticed I was called Bunchy. And that’s another word that is thrown around all the time. You think you’re too good for us?

Sure. That all of this stuck. And it bothered me sometimes, and then sometimes it didn’t. And then when I got in my twenties, so this was all out in college and all of that, I ended up with the Mayas raids at an advertising agency that I worked at. It was in my late twenties, and so that’s when I heard the introversion and heard about all of my attributes and all of those things were just swinging so true to me.

And then they group you by your classification. And I was grouped with the coolest, the people that was seeing like gods in the ad agency. They were the weirdos. And I loved it because they were the most created animals of value. This was in an advertising agency, very free spirit, very different from obviously a corporate role. And so from there I just felt different about myself.

I think my spirit started to change and I’m like, I’m not so bad. And people I attracts people like Magnet, and people will tell me about how I bring a sense of calm and I bring all of these things that they are missing and needy. And I’m told this as I’m very commanded and going through my career, I’m being commended for all of these things that were held against me when I was younger.

So I lean into them more. And so now I’m very confident in my introversion as I talk about it daily. I lead with it and a point behind it is to say, I’m with you. I’m trying to change the narrative. I think that we’ve come a long way. Like you said, I wish there were people out here talking about it when I was a little girl, there weren’t.

But right now that’s our responsibility. Or I feel like it’s my responsibility to do that. So we’ve come a long way, but there still is a lack of understanding as people I’ll meet and we’ll talk about, I’ll bring up introverts or something and now say, Gee, are you not into work? And I’ll say, I’m totally an introvert. And then my next question is what do you think an introvert is?

And then that leads to and gives me an opening to educate. Because you’re right. Oh, introverts hate people and you go to stuff and you go to the movies and you go, I saw you out at dinner last week. Yeah, because that’s not what an introvert is. So police still have a long way to go. But I do think my advice to parents would be to same thing I just said for the introvert in the working place.

What is it that kid loves to do? Give them more of it than you may have four kids and one that wants to be a musician, one’s an athlete, one is reading books, one’s an artist. And so what you try to do right is nurture that one thing that you see that they love. Even though you give all the kids the same attention you’re supposed to and the saying love.

But you notice that this kid loves basketball, so you’re going to give them every opportunity and in a basketball camp do all of that. And so I want people to think about the saying when they know this, they’re quiet or kid don’t try to make that quiet kid do something they don’t want to do. Don’t try to make that kid played basketball.

Don’t try to make that here. Do something, Find out what they love to do and nurture it and give them as much of it as pop that she possibly can. And I love that you mentioned the famous introverts, because that’s another thing I hit here, as with Oprah, as an introvert and people are blown away and we can go down the list like Mark Zuckerberg.

If Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, there’s so many the most powerful people in the world now, Barack Obama has never said it, but everyone around him has said it are introverts and people who are highly creative and really smart. And that seems to be attractive to parents when I’m talking to them about. So Oprah even talks about how all she did was read, although what’s the worst that could happen with all you do is read.

That is, it’s not like you’re going to have a horrible life. Let see what that blossoms into is see how you can support it. So we have a lot more work to do. But I am really enjoying talking about this and I feel empowered and I want to share that with others and as well as educate. Because it’s funny how I’m surrounded by extroverts, which I don’t know if that’s the case with you, but I have two introvert friends, very close, and everybody else around me is extroverted and they are it’s a it’s like a magnet even.

And they will compliment me on what they get from me, even though I’m not the talkative busybody. But they are getting something from me. And same thing. Even with my work relationships, I always tend to work for an extrovert. I don’t know why, but it’s always a great balance. I’m not complaining. I love my boss as well. So it’s a great relationship and a great balance.

And that’s another thing companies need to know. You don’t need a team of all extroverts. You may not need a team of all introverts. You need a combo because while the extrovert may be the showman and taking risks into one all those cool things, that introvert is a whole lot. Wait a minute. Let’s look at the data. Let’s think about this.

Let’s not jump so quick. Let’s talk about this. You need both. So that’s another thing that I think companies need to hear. And the best salespeople, I think, are introverts.

Be Yourself

Matthew: Yeah, they may not be bragging about it quite as much if that’s the trouble sometimes. And I think you see that in all positions. It’s a lot of times it’s not the people that are doing something that get promoted. It’s the people that are telling people about the things that they’re doing, that getting the promotion. And this is what I see happen time and time again in global organizations, is they keep losing staff, which cost a fortune to replace.

And sometimes you spend, you have to hire two people to replace one introvert that did the work just because those people are going off to greener pastures. And the problem is that greener party isn’t greener. We talk about the great resignation. We talk about people leaving and not being as loyal as they used to. But a lot of times that’s a staff member feeling like their bosses, their employers, letting them down, not giving them that opportunity, not recognizing them, but going to another employee with the same thing happens over and over again because they’re also not learning skills and in order to learn how to do those things.

So I think it’s so important from both perspectives that people learn how to do it. And for those people, just in case we didn’t say it loud enough, don’t lean into becoming more extroverted. If you’re an introvert, that is not the path for you. If you are parentless, need do this and you have an introverted child. You’re not going to help them be successful by teaching them how to be more extroverted.

Like for me, I learned to sell because it was a thing that I needed to do. It was important to me at a time. Then I wanted to run my own businesses and I learned those skills. But if I had have had extroverted skill sets pushed upon me when I was younger, then I probably would have never done those things because I didn’t learn how to do it the extroverted way.

That wouldn’t have worked for me, but it would have convinced me that I couldn’t do it. And that would have been a lesson that I would have been ingrained in me for life. So please take this is duty of care. If you’re a parent and for those people that are introverted yourself, you’ve got to learn to let go of all of those things that perhaps you thought you couldn’t do because other people tried to get you to do it in a way to perhaps wasn’t built for your personality type, but take advantage of the fact that there are now strategies and not just by people with the word introvert on the cover of their book, but other introverts all over the world like the people we mentioned. And there are so many others that are introverted, they just don’t stamp it on their books. And that’s why we we love doing podcast interviews like this, to really share the stories of other introverts that are making a difference in the world, whether they’re talking about the topic of introversion or whether they just titans of industry that just so happen to be introverted.

But we’re going to have to finish up this interview, and I hope for everybody who’s listening, you’ve got as much out of this as I have. I finish all of my interviews with the same question because as I said to you beforehand, I feel that most people look at introversion as a disadvantage, a burden that we have to bear.

And I believe it’s an edge. And I love the fact that you said that you believe it’s an advantage as well. But what I try to do is put a spotlight on what those advantages are. What would you consider your introverts edge to be?

Jeri’s Introvert’s Edge

Jeri: I think that I see things that others don’t see and I’m able to connect to it in a way that it works to my advantage, whether it’s in the workplace or a partnership or whatever it is. And I’m holding all of this together and creating. I don’t know, creating a world of place, a space, something that will help move something forward.

I’m talking in circles. But even just now, just a few minutes ago, I’m working on a project and I reached out to a media partner and I said, knowing his audience, he’s a sales guy and he’s an introvert, knowing his audience, knowing the demographics of his station and all of that, I’m pitching this idea and it has now turned into this huge who I’ll say amazing things that are about to happen.

And it’s just because I think I’m seeing and knowing what he wants, I’m seeing and knowing what we want. I’m seeing and knowing what a middle person wants. And I’m able to make us all collaborate and create a big, beautiful thing. It’s a win win. So it’s also connecting. So I think seeing things that other people don’t see and making connections and that’s probably something that people don’t understand introversion yet.

And I’ve been complimented that on that many years about how so I’m going. And now that I’ve met you, I need you because I’m listening to and remembering what somebody else said. I’m going to connect to their synergy and I want you to work together because I think there’s something there. So that’s it’s not one word, but that’s, I think, my secret sauce, my edge.

Matthew: No, I think that’s really powerful because when we talk about extroverts, we talk about the fact that they were gregarious and that they just have something to say. But there are lots of other strengths for being an extrovert as well. And I think what happens is we think that we need to summarize those advantages. What I heard was you use empathy to almost be a mind reader, to see connection points that most people don’t normally know normally say bestseller.

Jeri: Someone’s better than what I just said. Yes, but.

Matthew: This is the important thing about having this dialog on shows like this, because people listening, you need to know you have an introvert edge. You may not know how to articulate. Sometimes you need to talk it out with somebody else, and it’s much easier for someone that’s not in your head to see what it is with you. But you have to start the process of explaining it.

And I would really urge people to lean into the fact that they are introverted. There’s nothing wrong with that. You’re not a second class citizen. There are real strengths to being it, and there is no boundaries to what you can achieve. And if your organization you feel is putting up a boundary, take responsibility for that and you push that change.

Whether we talked about we talked about gender, we talked about race today, there was always somebody that said in an organization, enough is enough. I’m going to make it difficult for people to not take me seriously or for not giving me that opportunity. I’m going to educate people and you in an organization should do this, especially if you’re thinking about leaving because they’re not giving you the opportunity.

Maybe their lack of education on the topic of introversion is causing that before you quit and go and cause that same situation for yourself somewhere else. Because most organizations can be the same. Not all. There are some great ones, but you can go searching for that one. You could change jobs seven times or you could push a change within your organization and actually help them realize what introversion is and how to leverage your strengths.

And you might find that leads you to positions that were just outside your reach beforehand. I would love to see that happen and I’d love for you to share when that happens. How it happened, What surprised you? But for today, I really appreciate you being on and being so open to sharing. If people are just hearing about your content for the first time and they want to go deeper into any of the topic matter that we discuss or other things that you work on, where would you suggest people go to find out more about you.

Jeri: So they can go to my website, which is hash loudly icon or follow me on Instagram, which is hushed loudly or reach out to me personally at JD, at Herschel, at Lincoln, because I love to have conversations with people, with companies. More on this topic.

Matthew: That’s terrific. Thank you very much for joining us. And to everyone that’s listening along or watching along, I should say, because I’m not sure what medium you’re using. See, that’s the classic introvert overthinking things. I so appreciate you joining us and I hope that you got value from this show. I’m sure that you did. Jerri’s advice definitely had an impact on me, and I can’t wait to share it with others.

So please share the word about this podcast and please take a second to do what introverts do. Great and reflect on this episode and how you can make change inside your workplace, inside your own business. And until then, I look forward to seeing you in the next episode. Cheers, everyone.

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