The unvarnished truth is this: If you’re chatting away and your audience is looking at you intently, what you may interpret as stunned admiration for what you’re saying may actually reflect their concern for your emotional well-being. It could even be a strong desire to make an elegant exit. Since introverted types don’t like to waste (or mince) words, I thought I’d create a semi-accurate guide for others to know what we introverted executives are really thinking….
1. While this lengthy conversation was initially entertaining as performance art, I fear growing old before you finish.
2. How do you possibly get anything done if you’re chatting all day? What’s your secret? Do you take energy shots to keep going?
3. What!!!! The meeting is cancelled?….Thank you, Heaven Above. I promise to never be snarky again.
4. Why is he reading the slides to us? I already know how to read. I think most people in the room have read them several times already.
5. Why is she telling me this? If there is actually something I need to know from this slurry of words, I’m definitely not getting it.
6. What is it you don’t get about “Interrupting is rude“? I know “interrupting” is a big word, but still.
7. Why are you saying that I need to come out of my shell? It’s nice and quiet and a remarkably productive place. You should see the wet bar.
Corollary: introversion is not a condition to overcome but a gift. Our contributions may pass unnoticed, but if no one were introverted, the world would be a far different place. No science, no books to read….
8. Is working in a cubicle Hell or just Purgatory?
9. Why do I need to come to this meeting if no one is listening anyway? Will they notice if I sit under the table and read a book on my phone?
10. You think I’m a snob because I’m quiet? Now that is hilarious. It’s not that I think I’m too good to talk to you, but rather I don’t enjoy small talk, chit chat and spending lots of time socializing tires me. Hard to believe? I know!
11. Do you value more results or some ungodly number of hours put in? Because silly me, I actually value results and can deliver in remarkably short time when I’m not spending a day or three in back-to-back meetings.
12. As you drop into my office uninvited, please don’t get too comfortable as I actually have work to do. The exception is if you want to share how you just told the president about any of my recent and amazing contributions to the latest successful quarter.
13. Marcus Aurelius got this more than 2 thousand years ago: Fortune favors the prepared. So why don’t you come prepared for this meeting?
14. Am I silently correcting your grammar? Possibly.
15. Don’t let your lack of planning put our project in the Emergency Room.
16. Being quiet is not the same as having nothing going on. Introverts are mysterious, deep thinking, sexy while occasionally intimidating.
17. As a corollary, talking is not synonymous with contribution.
And sometimes we’re wondering, “Is it nap time yet? Can I go home now?”
Got something to add to the list? Inquiring minds would love to know.