Susan Cain speaks on individual personality success



Susan Cain, best-selling author, speaks at BYU Forum to students on how to succeed with their own personality. (Ryan Turner)
Susan Cain, best-selling author, speaks at a BYU Forum to students on how to succeed with their own personality. (Ryan Turner)

Introverts are taking over extroverts in the business world as the top CEOs of companies. In the forum given on Jan. 24, TED speaker Susan Cain explained what it takes to become a leader based upon different personality types.

Cain, author of “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking,” began her forum by asking students what they think the ideal leader is like. She said there is an idea that one leader fits all but she disagreed and said there are two types of leaders: introverts and extroverts.

This idea came into her mind when she was a young girl going to summer camp in the woods for eight weeks. Cain said she was a quiet and timid girl who was excited to go to camp and read books all day, but saw very quickly camp was not going to be that way. Rowdy and wild was a more accurate way to describe her experience.

Cain learned through camp that there are different types of personalities in the world and everyone needs to realize this in order to get rid of the idea that everyone is the same.

“We need to step outside our comfort zone, but it is a mistake to turn ourselves from inside out and becoming something we are not,” Cain said.

Cain gave a situation during the forum to help students better understand this idea of introverts and extroverts.

“Think to yourselves that you have been at a party . . . you’re enjoying and talking to people. Extroverts recharge their battery by being in party situations, versus introverts that have a battery that is being depleted from this type of party,” Cain said.

Cain said the idea of a battery is based off the psychological observation that everyone is wired differently.

“Introverts feel at our most alive when we enquire conditions, and when things get more rowdy, we get jangled,” Cain said. “Extroverts, when things get too quiet, we get sluggish and bored and we don’t have things to make us our best.”

Cain then explained to students how to use their different personalities and make them useful in a business world.

“The best businesses have a mixture of both introvert and extroverts, example: Facebook,” Cain said. “They each understand what each other is bringing to the table and they work on it.”

This idea can also be expanded beyond the work environment and can be useful in the classroom, according to Cain. She listed two tips for introverted students and two tips for extroverted students to get the best learning experience in the classroom.

Cain said introverts should speak up early in class so others know where they are coming from. Her second tip for introverts is to know the personality of an extrovert so the introvert may know where they are coming from.

She said extroverts should curb their enthusiasm in classes and meetings. Her second tip is to engage with introverts one-on-one and talk to them in advance to know what they want.

These ideas of how to be successful in the world can also help those become a leader, Cain said. She said the top 11 countries are lead by CEO’s  that have the personality of being shy, timid, low-key and soft-spoken.

“Introverts tend to want to go deep into one or two projects that they love . . . they will end up inspiring trust in people and become company leaders,” Cain said. “People can feel when a leader is there because they really care what is happening, and they attract people who really care about feeling good about what is happening.”

Cain concluded by reminding students to step out of their comfort zone more than they want to, but to remember it is important to come back to the person they really are.

“I would go out and walk around the world and look for the people who you really truly deeply connect with . . . you will find yourself a network of people you really love and that is more powerful than anything,” Cain said.

Students can find more information about Susan Cain and the forum on BYU’s website.

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