Are you an introvert, an extrovert, or an ambivert?
Susan Cain, the author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, is the world’s best-known expert on introverts. She and Paul Scibetta, the co-founder of Quiet Revolution, a startup that helps companies manage introverted employees, developed this five-minute quiz to help clients, including Procter & Gamble (PG), assess their employees. You can take Quiet Revolution’s quiz here. Answer each question on this 1-5 scale:
1 = very uncharacteristic or untrue, strongly disagree
2 = uncharacteristic
3 = neutral
4 = characteristic
5 = very characteristic or true, strongly agree
The Quiet Revolution Quiz:
1) I quickly feel drained when in a large crowd of people.
2) I am a cautious decision maker.
3) I feel drained after being out and about, even if I’ve enjoyed myself.
4) I don’t take risks unless I’ve done some careful research or evaluation first.
5) When I was a child, people described me as “quiet.”
6) In large social gatherings, I often feel a need to seek out space to be by myself.
7) I don’t rush decisions.
8) Too much exposure to noise or light leaves me feeling drained or spacey.
9) I am patient to find out all the facts before making a decision.
10) I do my best work in a quiet environment.
Total score = ____
Here’s what your score means:
Total score of 38 or more: Introvert
Given the choice, you’ll usually devote your social energy to a small group of people you care about most, preferring a glass of wine with a close friend to a party full of strangers. You think before you speak, have a more deliberate approach to risk, and enjoy solitude. You feel energized when focusing deeply on a subject or activity that really interests you. When you’re in overly stimulating environments (too loud, too crowded, etc.), you tend to feel overwhelmed. You seek out environments of peace, sanctuary, and beauty; you have an active inner life and are at your best when you tap into its riches.
Total score from 22 and 37: Ambivert
You fall somewhere in the middle of the introvert-extrovert spectrum. In many ways, ambiverts have the best of both worlds, able to tap into the strengths of both introverts and extroverts, as needed.
Total score of 21 or less: Extrovert
You relish social life and are energized by interacting with friends and strangers alike. You are typically assertive, go-getting, and able to seize the day. You are great at thinking on your feet and relatively comfortable with conflict. Given the choice, you usually prefer more stimulating environments that give you frequent opportunities to see and speak with others. When you’re in quiet environments, you’re prone to feeling bored and restless. You are actively engaged in the world around you and at your best when you tap into its energy.
“We are all gloriously complex beings,” says Cain, adding, “Of course, no one’s personality can be completely described with 10 questions.” That said, the Quiet Revolution quiz, a distillation of a more comprehensive version developed through testing and analysis in partnership with the University of Pennsylvania’s Dr. Scott Barry Kaufman, provides a fairly accurate indicator of where you fall on the introvert/extrovert spectrum. According to Cain, introversion and extroversion can best be explained through facets of “stimulation” and “deliberation.” Stimulation measures your preference for environments that are either calm or exciting. Deliberation measures your preference for deliberation vs. action.
And this matters significantly in work and careers. “When you make career choices that are congruent with your temperament — and allow your colleagues to do the same — you unleash vast stores of energy,” Cain explains. Conversely, if you spend time battling your own nature — if you’re an introvert with a frenetic social calendar or you’re an extrovert whose work requires you to sit alone with a laptop for hours on end — you’ll quickly deplete yourself. And that’s no good for you or your company.