Author Profile Picture

Heather Townsend

The Excedia Group


Read more from Heather Townsend

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

OMG! I’m an introvert – does that make me a bad trainer?


Yesterday, I finally admitted to myself that I am an introvert.

This shouldn’t be a big deal. After all, it’s fine to know that in social situations you will be expending energy (as introverts do) rather than gaining energy from social interactions with others (as extroverts do).

It also explains why:

  • I always struggled with the informal socialising in the evenings on residential courses that I was leading
  • I literally crash after delivering a workshop and need a couple of hours to myself
  • I've never understood how some trainers can deliver a workshop and then arrive home energised at the end of a day, regardless of how well the session went
  • I have to sneak away at big family events at least once or twice in the day for some me time
  • At lunch times and break times on workshops when I am a delegate or course faciliator I would sometimes prefer to NOT talk to people

None of this fits with the tag I’ve been given as a ‘networking expert’ or specialist trainer. 

I think that there is a pressure for trainers to be seen to be extroverts. Whilst, some of the best trainers I know are extroverts - I still know some cracking trainers who are introverts. Actually nearly all of my bosses in learning and development have been introverts. Not sure whether this is a good thing or a bad thing... But, honestly, I do think that within the profession, there is some snobbery towards extroverted trainers.

And another thing! (Can you tell I have my bit between the teeth?) Now, that I have admitted that I am an introvert, suddenly an industry wants to sell me products to help me with my perceived social disease - introversion. Nope, I've not changed overnight and now need help to become a better presenter, networker, communicator etc. (Well, I may need help to become a better presenter, networker, communicator; but not because I am an introvert!) In my experience, the strengths in communication often displayed naturally by introverts rather than extroverts, can be a real benefit. 

What’s your thoughts on today’s ramblings?

6 Responses

  1. Introvert Extrovert Good Trainer Bad Trainer So What!

    It matters not a jot Heather whether you are an introvert or not on your ability as a trainer. What matters is that you can engage with and inspire others though your skills knowledge and experience. Being an extrovert does help engage but that alone does not make anyone a great trainer.

    I consider myself to be extrovert and one of them MBTI personality questionaires says so to! However your comment about being exhausted after delivery is I believe more to do with your commitment to delegates than your E/I leanings. If that is true then I must he a hidden introvert. I do find it hard to sleep (buzzing) after a session but I am most certainly exhausted.

    I know trainers who sit in both camps (extroverted and introverted) and are fresh as a daisy after a session. They can do five days on a trot without fatigue. This is because they ‘go through the motions’. They don’t get involved with their delegates. They don’t stray off the ‘agreed narative’ to help individuals break down personal barriers to help them breakthrough. And they certainly don’t create a unique delegate experience. They often buy off the shelf training and run the numbers and then do exactly the same the following day.

    All my delegates are unique and therefore all my sessions are unique too. This is exhausting, but if it helps my leaners progress then that is a small price to pay.

    Be proud of who you are H. I listen to what you have to say, extrovert or not. Keep up the good work.

    Peter Ramsden

    Paramount Learning



  2. OMG I’m an introvert too!

    I laughed when I read your article. I was a trainer for many years and am very much an introvert. I can completely relate to what you say in your article. More power to the introverted trainers!

  3. I’m proud of who I am

     Thank you Peter for your insight and lovely comments. I agree totally with you, it doesn’t matter whether I am an introvert or an extrovert, it only matters whether I do a good job with my delegates and clients. I feel more comfortable in the skin I am in now I have answered the little questions in my head – am I an introvert or an extrovert. Like yourself, being an licensed MBTI step I practitioner, doesn’t necessary make it easier to answer the question.

    I wrote this article based on a similar blog post I wrote on Joined Up Networking. Since I wrote that article it seems as if the whole world wants to sell me products or services based on the fact that as I am an introvert, because I clearly have difficulty in communicating with people. Mmmm. No. 


    Partnership Potential

    Joined Up Networking

    1. I was so relieved to read
      I was so relieved to read your article……I have been a trainer for close to 15 years and lately, was struggling with my struggle with social situations or why, like you, was I exhausted after a training or a social function.

      It feels so good to know that I can still do my job while being an introvert. It helps to know the challenges that we have as an introvert because we can better prepare for it.

      In my case, I feel like being an introvert has been an asset. Because I spend so much energy when I am in front of a group, I have learned to come prepared ( yes I even prepared the jokes I am going to tell ).

      Though lately, I have been asking myself whether it was time for a career change. After 15 years, I do feel burned out. Though I am now asking myself if it has more to do with the fact that, until I read your article, I felt guilty about being an introvert trainer! Time will tell.

      I wanted to thank you for contributing to make me feel good about myself, and for helping me make a GIANT step towards accepting myself as introvert!

  4. This is a great post and
    This is a great post and thank you for opening up to the world. I think people get too caught up in what they are and don’t focus on what they can do. I’ve worked with trainers that are introverts and extroverts but I find it’s important to remember there is more than that to any job. Just because you’re an introvert and a trainer doesn’t mean you’re inherently bad at the job. The best trainer I ever had was an introvert. The guy barely spoke, but when he did people listened. He also made sure to build time for himself into his day to recharge. Everyone functions differently. I do training sessions back to back most days and can barely sit down to eat lunch and leave work feeling fine. Other people do one session early in the morning and one late afternoon and that’s it for them. It’s all about what works. The quality is no better from either of us.
    What I’ve found with introverted people is that since they like that alone time or me time is that if you give them something to do during that time it can help them. I’m working on a course revamp right now with an introvert and I let her use her alone time to work on that revamp. She plugs in her headphones and off she goes. She does wonderful work.
    Introvert or extrovert there is no wrong personality type for training. Rather it is about passion and having leadership that utilizes you.

Author Profile Picture
Heather Townsend


Read more from Heather Townsend

Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.


Thank you!