I HAVE A CONFESSION TO MAKE. WHEN I WAS AT UNI, I CHOSE ALL MY COURSES BY THE TYPES OF ASSESSMENT I WOULD HAVE TO COMPLETE, AND AVOIDED ANY THAT INCLUDED ORAL PRESENTATIONS OR GROUP WORK. I have another confession to make. I think this was a mistake, and that by avoiding these types of assessment, I missed out on a great opportunity to learn and grow during my time at uni. Obviously, not everyone can pick and choose their courses based on assessment type. But this is actually a good thing. Whether they’re an introvert or an extrovert, many students resent having to do group assignments at university. What is important to remember when working with different personality types on a group assignment, is that both introverts and extroverts have strengths and weaknesses. Neither type is better or worse than the other, and both have unique contributions to make towards the assignment and the group dynamics. INTROVERTS HOW TO KNOW IF YOU’RE AN INTROVERT • You find it easiest to recharge your batteries when you’re alone • You appreciate having time to consider information before sharing your opinions or making a decision • You prefer to work alone • You prefer to communicate one-on-one rather than in front of a large group • You are happy not being the centre of attention STRENGTHS • Problem solving • Planning • Quiet achievers • Highly focused • Self-sufficient • Listening • Think before they speak • Support and empathise with others WEAKNESSES • Can be thrown by last-minute changes • Not big fans of verbal communication • Can overthink things and become overly self-critical, preventing them from saying what they’re thinking • Can freeze under pressure • Can take criticism or negative feedback personally and find it hard to bounce back TIPS FOR INTROVERTS WHEN WORKING WITH EXTROVERTS 1. Make an effort to smile, say hello to each member of the group each time you meet up, and engage in small talk. It might feel uncomfortably awkward, but establishing a connection with your group beyond the assignment can help improve group dynamics, and who knows, you might even make a friend! 2. One of your strengths is to think things through thoroughly, so if you don’t agree with a decision that has been proposed, don’t be afraid to explain your point of view. The worst that can happen is the rest of the group won’t agree, but they might prefer your alternative suggestion! 3. Be aware that other group members may interpret your quiet nature as a lack of interest, or may try to allocate you more of the workload than is fair because they assume you won’t speak up. Put your hand up for the tasks you feel comfortable with and have the confidence to say something if you disagree with decisions being made. It is a group assignment, so make sure decisions are made as a group. Sources: *D Buettnew, ‘Are extroverts happier than introverts?’, Psychology Today. OfficeVibe, ‘The key differences between introverts and extroverts’. Happify, ‘What every introvert needs to know to be happy and successful’. IntrovertSpring, ‘Introverts explained’.