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    • ”Talkers rule the world.”

      That was the advice of a wealthy partner and owner of an investment management firm after I told him that I was spending a thousand dollars saved during college to take a Dale Carnegie course.

      I had been shy and introverted in high school, and less shy but introverted at university. A public speaking elective had helped to improve my participation in classes, but I still was more comfortable in small groups than at parties.

      So taking the Dale Carnegie course was a big deal.

      For twelve Tuesdays in a row during my early twenties, I screwed up my courage to speak in front of a group of thirty people. The hardest part was the nervous anticipation until it was my turn to give my speech. But gradually the nerves calmed down and I began to enjoy public speaking. By the end of the course I was recommended to take a job in sales by one of the instructors. (I finally got into sales over a decade later and thoroughly enjoyed it. But that’s a different story.)

      Since then, I’ve become extremely comfortable at parties, providing presentations, and attending networking events.

      But then social distancing, pandemics, masks, and cancellations of live events and meetups pretty much killed all those interactions for those not wanting to risk death or permanent lung damage.

      Which got me thinking about the ramifications of this global cocooning. Without those events to attend to for the next year or so, will Zoom meetings and FaceTime calls be enough to meet our need for extroversion? Or will the introverts mastery of social isolation give them a decided advantage?

      I don’t see the world becoming a society of mole people like in HG Wells’s The Time Machine, however, are people with the gift of the face to face going to lose their advantage?

    • Great question StephenL!

      As a certified Myers-Briggs Introvert who made a career out of interacting with people, giving presentations, selling, etc., I can tell you that I find my introversion cuts against me hard right now in the virtual world. In the pre-COVID world, my Introversion allowed me to develop a stronger sense of empathy. I rely on non-verbal queues a great deal in my communication to know if my message is being understood or if I need to make adjustments in how the message is being delivering. I generally listen before speaking and am often the last one to speak up, but I learned how to interject effectively in a group situation by reading the rhythm of the discussion and the body language of the other participants, and if needed, by using "forceful" but subtle body language to let people know that I am about to be interjecting. All that stuff is 5X harder on Zoom or on the phone with 15 people.

      Also, introverts need time to reflect and recharge after social interactions, but that doesn't mean we prefer to always be alone. Or even if we do prefer to be alone (or maybe just sitting quietly with another person), being forced to do that in the same place all the time can be really frustrating. At least in my case, I like a change of scenery when I go to recharge. So after a tiring 2 or 3 hour zoom session at home, "going home" doesn't offer the same mental break that it used to when I would literally go home from a meeting, or even just getting in my car and driving from one meeting to the next with a good tune on the stereo.

    • I watch a lot of YouTube and Twitch, and all the people I follow are naturally more inclined to spend time indoors playing video games. For them, nothing much has changed during the pandemic. On the other hand, late night talk show hosts are now simply being called "YouTubers" as they're now forced to talk into a camera at home all alone, something YouTubers have been doing (and perfecting) for years.