Do Introverts Make Good Speakers?

Do Introverts Make Good Speakers?

This is a very interesting topic that was recently brought up in one of my foresight in technology courses I teach.  Many of my  technology students are introverts. The Myers Briggs MBTI classifies people as introverts and extroverts.  The introvert tends to think before they speak. The extrovert tends to think as they speak.  Because of this, many may assume, the time lag preferred by an introvert may not make them the most likely candidates to be a good speaker.

However, really good speakers have spent long hours in preparation of their presentations.  This is an ideal way for the introvert to deliver information.  They have time to think and arrange their thoughts in a way that comes across in the way they intended. 

Classic introverts, like Bill Gates, can deliver wonderful speeches.  The problem introverts may experience in the speaking circuit would probably have more to do with the question and answer session at the end of the presentation.  At that point, once questions are asked, the introvert speaker could answer things very quickly if it is something they are familiar with and have answered previously.  However, should a heckler get into the crowd and ask something way off topic, in that case, it might not be the ideal situation for the classic introvert. 

An example of an introverted leader/speaker feeling as if they are under pressure during a Q&A session would be the Mark Zuckerberg video where he had flop sweat.

Oprah, Ellen Degeneres, and George Carlin: What Their Personalities All May Have in Common

What do Oprah, Ellen and Carlin all have in common?  They all have been listed as introverts according to their Myers-Briggs personality type or MBTI.  Sites like MBTITypes.com list Ellen as an INFP and TypeTango.com lists Oprah as an INFJ.  Other sites like PersonalityDesk.com have listed Oprah as an ENFJ.  If that is the case, she may be an extrovert or close to the middle of the two.  Without seeing her actual results, one can only guess.

Many people assume that people who talk for a living are extroverts.  That is not necessarily true.  Here are two famous examples of possible introverts.  As interviewers, they would have the luxury of having their questions prepared ahead of time.  This is helpful to the introvert because they wouldn’t have to spend as much time thinking about what they want to say.  It would be prepared for them.

According to Myers-Briggs official site, Ellen’s INFP personality would be someone who likes to, “Seek to develop logical explanations for everything that interests them. Theoretical and abstract, interested more in ideas than in social interaction. Quiet, contained, flexible, and adaptable. Have unusual ability to focus in depth to solve problems in their area of interest. Skeptical, sometimes critical, always analytical.”

Oprah’s INFJ personality would be someone who likes to, “Seek meaning and connection in ideas, relationships, and material possessions. Want to understand what motivates people and are insightful about others. Conscientious and committed to their firm values. Develop a clear vision about how best to serve the common good. Organized and decisive in implementing their vision.”

If Oprah is in fact an ENFJ she would be, “Warmhearted, conscientious, and cooperative. Want harmony in their environment, work with determination to establish it. Like to work with others to complete tasks accurately and on time. Loyal, follow through even in small matters. Notice what others need in their day-by-day lives and try to provide it. Want to be appreciated for who they are and for what they contribute.”

When analyzing someone like Ellen, one may not usually think of comedians as being quiet or analytical.  However, great comedians can be very introspective.  A great example of this was George Carlin. Several sites have listed Carlin as an INTJ which would describe him as one to, “Have original minds and great drive for implementing their ideas and achieving their goals. Quickly see patterns in external events and develop long-range explanatory perspectives. When committed, organize a job and carry it through. Skeptical and independent, have high standards of competence and performance – for themselves and others.”

For more information on celebrity personalities, check out It’s Not You It’s Your Personality.

What is Your Favorite Celebrity’s Personality Type? See How Your Personality Compares to Theirs

Have you ever wondered if you shared a personality type with a famous celebrity?  While it is very important to learn about our own personalities, it can also be very helpful to learn about other people’s personalities as well.  By looking at famous celebrities and their personality types, it can help us recognize qualities that we may possess that can be helpful or hurtful to our own success.

People are often described as being introverts or extroverts.  How can you tell which one you are?  One way is to answer the following question:  Do you find that you often speak before you have had a chance to really think about what it is you want to say?  If so, you may be an extrovert.  Extroverts are often thought of as outgoing because they can be talkative. They can be talkative because they are processing what they are thinking out loud. You might think that Hollywood celebrities must be extroverts.  That is not necessarily true.

Think about how you prefer to process information.  If you think as you are speaking rather than taking time to process the information, you might be an extrovert.  If you are an extrovert, here are some famous people that share your personality type:

  • Matthew Perry
  • Tom Hanks
  • Oprah
  • Johnny Depp
  • Robin Williams
  • Bill Cosby
  • Jim Carrey
  • Jerry Seinfeld
  • Bruce Willis
  • Madonna

There are actually more extroverts in the world than introverts.  Introverts like to take their time to develop their thoughts before they speak.  If you prefer to process information this way, you may be an introvert.  There are far more introverts in Hollywood than you might expect.  If you are an introvert, here are some famous people that share your personality type:

  • Michael Jackson
  • Marilyn Monroe
  • Britney Spears
  • Brooke Shields
  • Ashton Kutcher
  • Julia Roberts
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger
  • Lady Gaga
  • Tom Cruise

There are a lot of different personality tests out there that give information about personality preferences.  The previous examples of introverts and extroverts are a part of what the Myers-Briggs MBTI personality test can explain about our personalities.

There are plenty of other assessments that can give insight to who you are.  A lot has been written about birth order, and how it affects personality.  Are you a first-born child?  Then you may be interested in learning that the following celebrities are also first-borns:

  • Jessica Simpson
  • Nick Lachey
  • Josh Hartnett
  • Sylvester Stallone

If you are a middle child, you share that in common with the following celebrities:

  • Elijah Wood
  • Bill Gates
  • Jay Leno
  • Princess Diana

If you are the youngest, you may be interested in seeing which celebrities were last-born children:

  • Halle Berry
  • Cameron Diaz
  • Rosie O’Donnell
  • Whoopi Goldberg

If you are an only child, you may relate to these celebrities:

  • Freddie Prinze, Jr.
  • Alicia Keys
  • Tiger Woods
  • Natalie Portman

To find out more about how to analyze your own personality as well as those in others, check out the book: It’s Not You It’s Your Personality.  Millennials and post-boomer groups should be able to relate to many of the examples in the book.  Some of the top personality assessments are explained, along with celebrity examples so that you can visualize the personality traits.  The following personality assessments are also discussed in the book:

You might have noticed that emotional intelligence is covered in the book. Part of being emotionally intelligent is having the ability to understand your own emotions and personality as well as those in others.  The book, It’s Not You It’s Your Personality, includes a fun way to develop your personality skills.  You can also learn tolerance of others’ personalities, while being able to compare your own traits to some famous celebrities as well.

How to Ace the Job Interview by Understanding Introverts and Extroverts

For those of you who have taken a Myers-Briggs MBTI personality assessment, you may already know if you are an introvert or extrovert.  It gets confusing to some as many say extrovert.  Myers-Briggs uses the term extravert.  What is important is that you understand the differences between how introverts and extroverts/extraverts prefer to process information.  Why is this important to acing the job inteview?  Watch the video below for more answers.

How to Handle Your Introvert or Extrovert Doctor

Ever since I became a qualified Myers-Briggs MBTI instructor, I tend to try and figure out a person’s personality and what “type” they would be.  I was thinking about this the other day as I was talking to one of my physicians. I really like this guy because he is very calm and listens well.  He is a classic introvert.  He thinks a long time before he speaks.  Because I have had the MBTI personality assessment training, I know that when he is quiet, he is thinking about what he wants to say, so I try to shut up and give him the chance to speak.

As I mentioned in the book I co-wrote with Toni Rothpletz,  It’s Not You It’s Your Personality, I am the classic extrovert.  I never stop talking.  When I am in a doctor’s office, I tend to blab blab blab about what I want to say because that is how I think . . . externally.  That is what we extroverts do.  The problem with extroverts going to doctors who are introverts is that we, the extroverts, tend to do all of the talking.  We want answers but we don’t give the poor doctor a chance to speak to give us those answers.

From the studies I’ve seen, more people are extroverts and more extroverts than introverts are drawn to the primary care doctor positions. There is some data to show that introverts may be drawn to being surgeonsMy husband is an extroverted surgeon, but I can see that the surgical field would be a natural fit for the introvert.  I would think the anesthesiologist position would naturally appeal to the introverts as well.  As I wrote about in my book, How to Reinvent Your Career, I was a pharmaceutical representative for 15 years.  During that time, I saw that there were plenty of both types of doctors in all specialties.

How will you know if your doctor is an introvert or an extrovert?  The biggest clue will be in how long they take to respond to your questions.  If they answer quickly and talk over you, they may be an extrovert. If they take a few moments to think about what they want to say and appear to be quieter, they may be an introvert.

However, there will be a mix of introverts and extroverts in just about any field.  Therefore I think it is important to think about how to interact with your doctor based on your type as well as his or her type.  Here are some suggestions about how to interact with them:

If you are an introvert and your doctor is an introvert:

You both like to take time to think about what you want to say.  Your appointment probably will take a little longer while you both take your time to speak.  Introverts can interact well together because they understand how each other thinks.  However, be careful not to take too long to think about what you want to say and leave without getting your point out there.  It will come naturally for you to wait for their response but be sure they have had a chance to say all that they want to say.  You might ask “is there anything else I should be aware of?” or something like that to be sure they are finished.

If you are an introvert and your doctor is an extrovert:

You may find more frustration here because your doctor will be doing most of the talking.  You need to be aware that since there is a higher number of extroverts, you have a good chance of this happening.  You may have to push yourself to think a little quicker and be more prepared ahead of time.  I would recommend coming with a list of your concerns that you have had time to think about previously so that you can just hand them to the doctor.  This helps keep his active mind busy and you can be sure that your questions will be heard.

If you are an extrovert and your doctor is an introvert:

This is the situation I mentioned previously that I was in with my physician.  It is important that we as extroverts learn to recognize the introvert personality.  If you are doing all of the talking and the doctor is just listening and not really saying much, you might be talking to an introvert.  (It almost sounded like a Jeff Foxworthy routine there)  Try to ask one question at a time and stop and wait for their response.  I have to stop myself all of the time and just shut up.  This can be difficult for the extrovert but if you really want your answer, you must be aware that they think internally and like to take their time coming up with a response.  For you introvert doctors out there reading this . . . You would best be served to tell the extrovert patient something like, “that is a good question . . . give me a second while I think about an appropriate answer.”  That may shut us up long enough to sit still and wait for you to speak.

If you are an extrovert and your doctor is an extrovert:

In this situation, everyone is talking . . . and at the same time!   This can be a problem as well.  If everyone is speaking over each other and no one is really listening, the problem you are having may not be heard.  I think having a list of ailments and concerns written down before you go can help with every group.  In this particular situation, it may be helpful because it may keep both of you focused.  Try not to talk over the doctor and if they do not stop speaking, stop them every once in a while and say something like, “can I ask you a question?”   This will make a break in the conversation and let them know that you are about to say something that is important.