Throughout my life I have always been encouraged to speak up in class, share my thoughts with the team and suggest any helpful ideas.
As a fairly extrovert character, naturally, I’ve used this as an opportunity to talk. Despite this, I can’t help but think of a number of times where I have decided to be quiet, even though my head has been a storm of thoughts and unclear ideas.
After recently reading Susan Cains’ ‘Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking’ it suggests that sitting on your thoughts isn’t always a bad thing. Afterall, surely it’s better to have a clear thought and a real insight into your idea before sharing it.
In a world where everybody wants to be loud, it is often not the person who talks the most, but the person who talks the smartest that is listened to. Well, that is how it should be in an ideal world, perhaps hard to believe in today’s society, where the most dramatic headlines capture the public eye.
Whilst I believe that in part Susan Cain’s thoughts are spot on, I do recognise that a lot of unclear thoughts need to be shared at the point of group discussion. I am guilty to having thoughts that have been disregarded or forgotten, past the moment they needed to be spoken. Without getting somebody to pass judgement on your idea, it is easy to discredit it yourself. “That’s a stupid thought”, “That wouldn’t work”, “The client would never go for it”.
Despite getting your words out can sometimes feel like hard work, sharing thoughts and bringing ideas into group discussions can only be good for everybody involved.
If your thought or idea is invalid or doesn’t bring any value to the subject matter, then you will see the error in your thought process and have the opportunity to learn why you are incorrect. If your thought or idea is useful, then you get the opportunity to discuss, be challenged, and create turn thoughts into real opportunities.
There will not always be an opportunity to present your thoughts in a group setting, introverted personalities may struggle in these scenarios. Personally, I’ve always found that being alone with my thoughts, is far less productive than talking to somebody about them. This could be a colleague, family member or even a close friend.
Two heads are always better than one. Below is a short little animation by author Steven Johnson, that I think really sums up how people can benefit, from thinking out loud.