Friday, May 18, 2012


I cannot believe its the weekend, waho., This week was incredibly slow yet despite that, it was a great week. I started the week off with the launch of my first piece for the advertising & media industry website AdNews. Adnews is Australia's leading advertising, marketing and media publication and their website is an essential daily read for those within the industry.  AdNews has teamed with NGen to help its members such as myself (those with less than five years experience in the industry) to have their voices heard and each week a new member of the NGen committee will give their perspective on the industry and I had my chance to write my first piece this week. You can have a read of the piece at at AdNews here or below.

The power of the introverts in a media world that won't stop talking:
Let me ask you one question. Would you consider yourself to be an extrovert or an introvert?

For those of you who know me both personally and professionally, I bet you might all answer yes. You might think that I am confident and that I haven’t got a problem getting up and giving a presentation on the power of various types of advertising to my peers or clients. But the truth of the matter is, I am not an extrovert - I am very much an introvert and I always have been. A recent seminar I attended about different personality types reaffirmed this in my mind, and after much thought, I’ve begun to question how one works their way up to the top when the road is overpopulated with those that like to talk…. A lot.

The media industry is an ever changing landscape where jobs come and go and the race to reach the top is getting tougher. The media industry, and more specifically the advertising industry, is constantly evolving, and being from Europe, I have seen several of my friends in Ireland and the UK working at some of the top media agencies, publishing houses and television networks, lose their jobs after the global financial crisis hit. It’s in situations like that where you really start to question who deserves to go and who deserves to stay. Should it be the loud guy, the one that makes all the jokes, the one that loves to chat to the director of the company about the latest footy game; or the quiet person in the office, the one who is maybe not as sociable with their peers and who finds those moments of solitude invigorating?

Where an individual falls on the introvert-extrovert spectrum is one of the biggest factors in the make-up of their personality, and whichever way you lean it influences the very core of who you are and the choices you make throughout your life. The friends you make, the relationships you enter into, the way you introduce yourself to people, even the way you strike up a conversation for the first time essentially affects the career you choose, and it’s these social stereotypes that now govern whether you will succeed in that industry.

And yet these days, many of those who call themselves introverts are made to feel that there is something wrong with being the quiet person within the office, and that they will never reach the top. In life, society tells us that to be truly successful one must be bold, one must be loud and that one can only be happy if they are sociable. Is this true for each and every one of us?

The archetypal extrovert according to Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power Of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking, prefers action to observation, risk taking to heed taking, quick decision making regardless of the answer being right or wrong, works best in groups and socialises in large groups. She believes that despite the world thinking that it values individuality, it all too often only admires the personality of the extrovert within the workplace. Would you agree?

Introversion on the other hand, while commonly associated with other traits such as compassion, shyness and seriousness is now seen as a second class personality trait. Extroversion is without a doubt an appealing characteristic but it has become the standard for which many are made to feel they need to conform.

And, sure, why wouldn’t they?

Research carried out by Forbes recently showed that charismatic (or extroverted) leaders earn a bigger paycheck but were less likely to excel in corporate performance. It also showed that brainstorming sessions provided lower quality results and that the vocally assertive extroverts are the most likely to be heard within these sessions. Workspaces are decreasing in size and open planned offices are now the norm within the media industry. People don’t have the space to breathe or the space to think, which urges the question: are these types of office set-ups contributing to the decreasing concentration and productivity levels?

For me, I am not seeking introvert world domination. Big ideas and great leadership can come from either personality type, but what our industry needs is a better balance of both personalities, and an inclusion of different work styles to allow the extroverts and the introverts of the office to flourish.

Considering we work in an industry which brings ideas and thoughts to life, I thought I would leave you with a quote from Cain herself: "It’s a very powerful thing to be quiet and collect your thoughts”.


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