Why Introverts Make Great Communicators

version of this post originally appeared on marygannoncommunications.com.

We need to talk about introverts in this oh so extroverted world.

You would think C-level executives at some of our country’s top companies would be glad-handing, big talkers who are always at ease in the spotlight. That’s not what I’ve found.

I help train people for media interviews. Many successful business people I have coached and worked with are true introverts. They often learn to hide it well. I’ve been working with executives in top companies in a variety of industries for the past 12 years. Communications consulting is my second career. Television news reporting was my first.

When my clients tell me they HATE getting up in front of customers, shareholders, analysts, the dreaded media or even fellow employees, I can relate. Try standing in front of a camera and talking to millions of people LIVE, without being nervous?

But I chose that career. Most people in the business world probably didn’t consider how often they would have to try to excite people with a 48-slide presentation. It’s a big problem when so many executives in finance, technology and even the more extroverted world of marketing would rather be in a room thinking by themselves than in front of a room full of people.

Even though I’m a classic extrovert, I’ve observed quite a few silver linings of being an introvert. These are my top three communication advantages for introverts:

  1. You’re a great listener. That may be the best indicator of a great communicator. Someone who listens to his/her audience is often rated as a better presenter than the one who can talk for hours without notes.
  2. You have “big picture” perspective. Introverts’ dominant brain pathways allow them to focus and think about things for a while, so their ideas are usually fully baked.
  3. You’re fairly comfortable with large groups. Introverts are often less stressed than extroverts when in front of hundreds of people. (However, they might wilt when thinking about mingling with a few people after their speech or presentation.) So introverts don’t always shy away from center stage.

No matter if you’re an introvert or extrovert, guess what makes for a successful communication exchange? Preparation. It’s the key to nailing an important performance. Acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses, and then go for it!

Mary Gannon is an executive vice president and head of media training in Edelman’s Chicago office.

Samuel Zeller