Introverts are getting more positive attention these days. Here’s a wonderful Ted Talk by Susan Cain showing the extraordinary talents and virtues introverts bring to the world.
And there’s still a big problem. Introverts have been lumped together in one big basket that does them a lot of disservice because not all introverts are the same.
There are three kinds of introverts.
Imaginers are the most stereotypical introverts. They are imaginative, reflective, and calm. They engage with the world through inactions, which means “inside-action.” There’s not a lot to see externally because the action is all on the inside, which is why they are often experienced by others as disengaged. They are energized by solitude, which is why they shy away from social settings. Imagination is their gift. They prefer to be alone.
Communication Tip: Tell them what you want them to do, or tell them to share with you what’s on their mind. Otherwise, leave them alone. Avoid questions.
Persisters are dedicated, conscientious and observant. They want to share their opinions, so they interact with the world more than Imaginers. But they prefer to interact one-on-one with others, not groups. They get energized by engaging their internal value system and enjoy sharing those values with others as long as there aren’t not too many distractions. Persisters can be experienced as non-caring and non-emotional because they are more tuned into their own values than other people’s feelings or ideas. Persisters are energized by knowing that their values are being advanced in the world.
Communication Tip: Ask them questions about their opinions and values. Avoid emotions and logical arguments.
Thinkers are responsible, logical and organized. They want to share their ideas with others, mostly for the purpose of “thinking out loud” and to get feedback that their thought processes are rational. Most of their world is inside, made up of their ideas, plans, schedules, structures, and time frames. While they may enjoy a rational discussion with others, they like to work alone or with one other person so things stay organized. They get anxious when too many variables are introduced into the equation.
Communication Tip: Ask them about their ideas and plans. Stick to the facts. Avoid emotions and opinions without data to back them up.
These introverts are three of the six Kahler Personality Types taught in the Process Communication Model (PCM®). We all have all six within us, arranged in a preferred, set order. We can communicate with any type around us by energizing that type within us. PCM teaches people how to recognize each type and communicate accordingly. PCM helps us leverage diversity while connecting through our commonalities.