Normal people will never understand how much a phone call or zoom call drains the energy of a visual learner introvert. That little phrase at the end of an email “great, when can we meet to discuss it?” And there goes all my energy for the day. I thought we did just discuss it, in the email thread, or the slack thread. Why do we need a phone call or a zoom call to go over the same information?
Normal people are energized by a phone call or zoom call and they cannot understand how that isn’t the case for everyone else. We introverts and visual learners are zapped by them. First, we’re paralyzed by anxiety even hearing that little phrase above. Then, in the meeting itself, there is seldom any value.
This would have been better as an email
I’m not going to be able to do anything with the content of that call until it’s codified into a document, or story, or to-do list, or written down somewhere. If you’re an audible learner, maybe try converting my email to text to speech so you can internalize it better before stopping my productivity in its tracks to schedule a meeting.
I once met a person who ran those awful corporate team-building programs and I was trying to explain to them that, as a long-time manager of introverts, I can say with authority that these programs are hell on them. Their answer was we just have to make them do it more and show them how much fun it can be. Uhm, no. Such people simply can’t fathom the idea that it will never be fun for some people. How can anyone not enjoy this when I enjoy it so much?
A lot of the things I read on this topic are about making meetings more accepting of introverts, creating meetings where introverts are given space to contribute etc. Again, no. I mean, sure, if a meeting is absolutely necessary, but in general, how about just having fewer meetings and being sensitive to the pain of and the tolerance for meetings and phone calls and their impact on productivity and well being.
Phone calls are exhausting for many of us; and it’s not just the time spent on the call itself, as I note. There is a whole deflation that occurs the moment we find out we need to have a call. Like, why are we having a call? Now I have to get ready for it and make sure I can context switch into it. That means I can’t get into anything heavy before the call. We have a 15-minute call. That 15-minutes cost some number of hours before and perhaps burned most of a day with anxiety and preparation.
That “will you have some time today to chat” moment is a huge energy drain. We were humming along and we see those words, and bam! Droopy shoulders. The energy leaves us like a popped balloon. And now the burden of even coming up with a time is on our shoulders too.
Introverts are in the minority so most people don’t understand. Instead of changing to accommodate people with introverted tendencies, they want to “fix” them. Or worse, they think introverts should just “get over it.” While they are the minority in the population at large, they are common in the tech industry and sciences, many becoming leaders. Introverts have to “get over it” and accommodate the world or extroverts all the time. Introverts already pretend to be like other people, or pretend to be more extroverted, because that’s what people like – but it’s exhausting and they can only spend so much time in that unnatural state before they need some serious quiet time.