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  • What’s Your Preference, Extraversion or Introversion?

    Where’s your energy coming from? Are you more energized or drained at the end of a discussion? Identifying your personality preference for *extraversion or introversion helps you figure out what energizes you.

    One is not better than the other and, at times, everyone extraverts and introverts. However, one of these describes your preferred approach to the world. Highlight your personal brand by letting people know who you are and how you best function in the world of work.

    Personality type theory tells us there are two qualitatively different ways in which people become energized. Extraversion refers to a preference to become energized by the outer world, Introversion, the inner world. Both are equally valuable and necessary focuses for our energy.

    The extraverted approach

    People who prefer extraversion are most comfortable and at their best when interacting in the world around them. They are energized by actions and reactions. The primary approach of these individuals is doing, discussing, acting and trying things.

    Words to describe people who prefer extraversion include animated, enthusiastic, energetic, outgoing, and expressive.

    If you prefer extraversion, some of the following may be important to your brand:

    • Freely sharing thoughts, ideas, and information
    • Working with many people or within groups
    • Meeting new people and connecting people to each other
    • Having a broad range of interests
    • Taking action
    • Motivating, entertaining, or convincing others

    The introverted approach

    People who prefer introversion are most comfortable and at their best when taking time to think things through. They are energized by reflection and contemplation. The primary approach of these individuals is interpreting experiences, focusing in-depth, contemplating matters, and planning actions.

    Words to describe people who prefer introversion include calm, quiet, composed, contained, and private.

    If you prefer introversion, some of the following may be important to your brand:

    • Sharing well-thought-out ideas or information
    • Working alone, one-to-one, or in small groups
    • Concentrating without interruption
    • Specializing and having in-depth knowledge in an area of interest
    • Listening, reflecting, and developing ideas internally

    What works for you?

    Of course, all work requires you to extravert and introvert. Everyone needs to act and reflect. If you have a preference for extraversion you will learn to think before acting, otherwise you might say something you regret or make an abundance of impulsive decisions.

    If you have a preference for introversion you will learn to act and interact effectively, otherwise you might not share important information and ideas or you may get passed over for opportunities because others don’t know about your abilities.

    However, to fully be yourself and live a life aligned to your personal brand, you want to choose work where you can use your preference often. Spending too much time in your non-preferred mode will be stressful and will drain your energy.

    Although it is possible to list work options that people with different personality types tend to be attracted to, your preference doesn’t limit the kind of work you do. Rather, knowing your preference helps you figure out how to stay energized as you work.

    For example, if you prefer extraversion and want a writing career, find outlets where you can share your ideas and interact with others. If you prefer introversion and want to teach, make sure you build some quiet time into your days to recharge.

    You will likely do your best work when your work is energizing rather than draining. Understanding your preference for introversion or extraversion helps you figure out your work style and create a brand that highlights who you are.

    (*Personality type theory uses this spelling of Extraversion.)


    Donna Dunning, PhD, is a psychologist, certified teacher, member of the MBTI ® International Training Faculty, and director of Dunning Consulting Inc. She is the author of more than a dozen publications, including her two newest books, 10 Career Essentials and What’s Your Type of Career? 2nd edition. Donna’s guiding principle is: Know yourself, respect differences, learn and grow. Follow Donna on Twitter and Facebookher website. and visit

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