If you like time to process information, are described as a great listener and the “strong and silent type”, or prefer to keep your thoughts to yourself, if you are sometimes misunderstood as being cold, detached and unemotive, you may be introverted.
Being introverted or extroverted is neither a good or bad thing, it just is. Both personality types have their strengths and challenges. The key is knowing how you appear to others because doing so will help you to better control the impressions you are making. There are definite natural preferences to this dimension of personality, and with those come growth opportunities.
When introversion meets extroversion, clashes may occur. When they do, it is normally along the lines of how information is interpreted and expressed. In other words, they communicate differently.
I remember witnessing an example of this conflict of personality type and communication style happening a while ago. Sadly, what I saw was a horrible representation of introversion at its worst.
The internet/cable/TV representative arrived to our house in the morning. Nine painfully long hours later, he left.
So into his own thoughts, this installation rep walked right past us, came into our home without removing his boots, and never introduced himself. It wasn’t until I asked him his name an hour or so later that he advised. He never asked ours. Maybe he cared, but his actions said otherwise.
OK, so he’s busy. I get that. I also get that he’s representing a company and I’m pretty sure that this company wants to leave a good impression. Part of doing that means being sensitive to his role in the customer experience, and contributing positively to it by actually talking to the clients. Building relationships and rapport begins with making the effort and taking the initiative to connect.
It takes an introvert a considerable amount of energy to reach out proactively to clients, but no more than it takes an extrovert to squish their natural tendency of verbalizing their thoughts and listen, truly listen, when the client speaks.
Throughout the day, this rep uttered maybe five sentences, most of them to decree that there were no options or solutions to the technical problems he was was there to solve. Because he didn’t keep us up to date as he worked along, we heard nothing except for the negative comments. The result? He appeared negative and definitely not a problem-solver. We were underwhelmed.
Luckily, my husband is very clever at figuring things out, and HE, not the rep, put forward feasible solutions several times. For example, the rep, with a deadpan face advised us that there was “no way” the modem could be placed in the centre of the house. It was my husband who came up with the idea of using an exterior cable and running it outside instead of being limited by interior walls. Options man, speak to us about options. Just speak to us, please.
Later, this rep turned on all the three TVs to check them, leaving them blasting while I was working in my home office. Oblivious to the fact that he was disturbing us, he continued going up and down, in and out without a word. I went around and turned the TVs all down, hunted the rep and asked him if they had to stay on. He said yes, which was livable now since I had decreased the volume. However, he got so busy working away, at the end of the day when he left, he didn’t shut any of the TVs off. Again, oblivious to the world outside his own thoughts.
Internally processing ruled his day. He was so connected with his inner thoughts, he forget to connect with us, the clients. And that created a huge disconnect between us and his company. It was truly a missed opportunity.
I share this story with you as a caution. If this sounds like you, if you tend to behave the way this rep did, there may well be no intention to disconnect with others. Regardless, you run the risk of doing exactly that. Your choice is clear — keep your client in the loop through updates and conversing. Make that connection even though it takes energy and effort. Your client is worth it, your organization expects it, and you deserve to create healthy relationships.
PS: Have you ever dealt with someone like this? Does this article describe someone you know? Or maybe that someone is you? Post your comments down below this blog. Thanks!
©2023 Marion Grobb Finkelstein (MarionSpeaks)
Marion Grobb Finkelstein
Keynote Speaker / Corporate Trainer / Author
Recipient of APEX “Award for Leadership in Service Innovation”
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