In 2002, the embattled Conservative Party Leader Iain Duncan Smith famously tried to rally his party and his political career with the mantra, ‘Do not underestimate the determination of a quiet man.’
Widely ridiculed for the speech, he was ousted from his role by a vote of no confidence from his party just one year on.
A decade later, Susan Cain published an international bestseller called ‘Quiet: the power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking.’
It’s been a global phenomenon.
Not least because estimates show that somewhere between one third and one half of the population may be identified as ‘introverted’.
Ten years ago – apparently – we didn’t believe an introvert could run a political party.
Now, however, we have no problem believing that an introvert could set up and run multi-billion dollar businesses that are worth almost as much as the economy of a small country, like Facebook or Apple.
Because they did and they still do.
Alongside Susan Cain’s expose of all things wrong with an extrovert-dominated society, the rising star of the introverted ‘geek’ – from Steve Wosniak at Apple to the mega-popularity of the Big Bang Theory – has taken the shine off the assumption that extroversion is the only route to success, popularity and effective leadership.
At the same time, the phenomenal growth in social media in the last decade has hugely benefited those who often prefer writing to speaking and allowed many who might normally shun the limelight to talk directly to audiences of millions.
This ‘revolution of the quiet’ isn’t going away anytime soon. And for those of us who are passionate about authentic communication, a quiet revolution is good news.
An introverted outlook has distinctive qualities that can help both individuals and organisations enormously.
Self-reflection, thoughtfulness, being clear in our minds before speaking and above all, listening, are all incredibly powerful assets in developing an authentic voice.
And it’s only with an authentic voice that we should be shouting loudly.