Your Rights as an Introvert

Have you ever had a moment when you read something and it connects with you in such a profound way because it feels like someone finally understands you? That the person who wrote those words must be exactly like you on such a deep level? That you were trying to express your way of being and you’ve been trying to convey that way of being to others, but it seemed like no matter how you said it, others just couldn’t understand?

Yeah, me too.

And then I read Laurie Helgoe’s book, Introvert Power.

“Based on the largest sample ever assessed for personality type, introverts comprise 50.7% of the population.”

What’s that now?

Because we’re in real estate, it really can feel like we’re surrounded by extroverts and that the world must be a majority of extroverts. But, according to this book, that’s just not the case.

Introverts are harder to find because they don’t go around telling people they’re introverts. (duh)

In working with extroverts daily, we introverts are often pressured into ways of thinking or doing that don’t match up with our personality style.

So here, I give you Laurie Helgoe’s Bill of Rights for introverts along with my own observations and tips.

  • “Unless someone is bleeding or choking or otherwise at risk of imminent demise, you  have a right to think about it.”

Real estate is one of the slowest moving industries there is. Practically no decision needs to made in the next sixty seconds. A good response is, “That’s an interesting idea and I’d like some time to think about it. Can I let you know my thoughts on that by noon tomorrow?”

  • “Someone else’s pressure is their pressure. You have a right to let them keep it.”

It’s difficult when you’re an admin assisting several agents on a team. Especially because none of them know what the others are doing.

Let’s say one of your agents asks you to put together a flyer so they can go door knocking around their new listing in an hour. Five minutes later another agent on your team calls you because she is about to lock down a contract for her buyer and asks you to send the documents to the listing agent because she is out showing houses to another client.

These two agents have created situations where they are trying to take their stress and put it on you. Let them keep that stress. Sometimes letting people fail on their own teaches them that they can’t dump stuff on you at the last minute and always expect that you’ll be able to help them.

  • “If someone makes a request and demands an immediate response, say “no.” It is easier to change a “no” to a “yes” than it is to get out of something.”

Just knowing what you’re going to say in high-stress situations is extremely helpful. And practicing what you’ll say is even more helpful.

Write down what a polite “no” looks like, and practice saying it until you know you can repeat it as your immediate reaction.

Some people’s immediate response to rejection is coercion, so be prepared to repeat exactly what you said the first time every time the other guy asks again, but in a different way.

  • “You have a right not to know until you know, especially when you’re asked a big question. We all carry around a sense of knowing—that is internal, inexplicable sense of when something is or isn’t right, but we can’t access that sense while under pressure.”

This is exactly why I struggle with the witty comeback. Under pressure, I can’t think clearly and thus don’t know what to say.

After thinking about what I’d like to say, I like this script best:

     OTHER GUY: Let’s change the contract-to-close process so that you’re
     asking for referrals too. I’m going to give you a specific script and you’ll
     use it right after the appraisal comes back.

     ME: I’m not sure how I feel about that. Can I think it over and let you
     know tomorrow by noon?

     OTHER GUY: Well, I wasn’t really asking. This is something I want you to
     start doing.

     ME: If I don’t have time to think it through, then I have to say no.

     OTHER GUY: Okay, I get it. Let’s talk about it tomorrow at noon then.

This can work no matter what the request (or demand).

  • You have a right to obtain more information. If you don’t know, find out more.

Our lead agents can be pretty good at seeing something they think is cool and then wanting to implement it immediately. Or, they may think it’s cool, think it over for a couple of days, and then want it implemented immediately.

What they don’t understand is that they’ve had the time to think it over, but by asking that you implement it immediately, they haven’t given you the time to think it through.

All you have to do is remind them of that and then ask a lot of questions. Interrogate the crud out of your lead agent until you’re satisfied with the answers.

Never take anything they want to do at face value because it’s possible they haven’t thought it all the way through.

I have no problem being the voice of reason or playing devil’s advocate. Anything we implement must have a purpose and be able to stand up to scrutiny.

  • You do not have to jump in with affirming comments when you don’t feel it. You have a right to remain silent.

Wow, do I struggle with this one!

I want people to think I’m a kind, agreeable person who listens well.

In reality, I often smile, nod my head, and say things like, “Wow, really?” which spurs the other person to talk more when really all I want is for them to get to the point so I can answer their question and then get back to what I was doing before I was interrupted.

I’m not saying I don’t enjoy good conversation. I certainly do.

However, I don’t have to pretend like I agree with someone just to appear non-confrontational.

In fact, it’s almost like telling a lie if I pretend to agree when I don’t.

The person speaking could think I agree with him when I smile and nod when in fact, I’m just prompting him to get to the end of his story. And that’s no good.

So that’s why I like this last right the most. It takes two to tango, and if I don’t feel like dancing, I don’t have to.

Can you see yourself implementing this bill of rights in your own life?

I know that when I read them for the first time, I felt a great sense of relief.

I hope you buy the book Introvert Power and see for yourself what an amazing introvert you truly are!

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