Are You an Internal Processor or External Processor?

Do you think quietly to yourself or do you like to talk about your thoughts? Everyone has a way of thinking that feels most natural to them. Some people like to think quietly before they speak, and others like to talk through their ideas as they come to them. This is called your thinking style, and it can change how you make decisions, solve problems, and talk to people. Knowing if you’re more of an internal processor or an external processor can help you in your personal life and at work. This article will help you figure out your thinking style and show you how it makes a difference in your life.

What’s the Difference Between internal processors and external processors?

internal processors like to think things through in their head before they say anything. external processors like to speak their thoughts out loud to organize them.

Usually, internal processors like to be in a calm place to think, while external processors like being around activity when they’re figuring things out.

You might already have an idea if you’re more of a internal processor or a external processor based on how you act every day. But if you’re not sure, here are some clues to help you find out:

Internal processors:

  • Feel surprised when asked a question suddenly.
  • Have trouble saying what they’re thinking right away.
  • May not know what to say on the spot.
  • Might be told they seem like they don’t care or are hiding their feelings.
  • Need time to think before they speak.
  • Find it hard to explain their thoughts clearly.

External processors:

  • Think and solve problems by talking about them.
  • Don’t like being quiet while thinking.
  • Keep coming up with new ideas as they talk.
  • Might change topics often.
  • Could seem like they’re going off track.
  • Want quick answers and might get impatient.

Some people might not fit exactly into these groups. If that’s you, think about how you do things in your life to figure out your thinking style.

How Your Thinking Style Affects Your Life

Your thinking style can really affect your life. If you’re a internal processor, you might feel like you’re not good at talking to people or worry that you’re letting them down. But on the positive side, you’re probably really good at thinking deeply about problems and coming up with solutions on your own. You’re likely someone who likes to learn a lot and plan things out.

If you’re an external processor, you like to chat about problems and don’t like to keep your thoughts to yourself. You find it easier to think when you can talk things out with others. You might be good at understanding complicated ideas and explaining them in a way that makes sense.

Tips for Talking to Someone Who Thinks Differently Than You

Talking to someone who has a different thinking style can be hard, but it’s easier if you know there are different ways of thinking.

If you’re talking to a external processor (talkative thinker):

  • Let them know if you’re finding it hard to keep up and ask to focus on one thing at a time.
  • Ask for a little time to think and make sure to come back to the conversation.
  • If you don’t have an answer, just say you need more time to think. It’s okay!
  • Ask questions to help guide the conversation if they’re going off track.

If you’re talking to a internal processor (quiet thinker):

  • Be clear with your questions to help them give you an answer.
  • Don’t ask too many questions at once. Give them time to think about one before moving to the next.
  • Be patient and give them time to think if they need it.
  • If they still seem stuck, ask if they need more time.

Making the Most of Your Thinking Style

For Quiet Thinkers (Internal Processors):

If you’re someone who likes to think quietly, it’s important to give yourself enough time to think about things before you need to talk about them or make a decision. This means you might need to plan some quiet time in your day when you can be alone with your thoughts. During this time, you can think about any problems you need to solve or decisions you have to make. You don’t have to rush. Just let your thoughts flow naturally and see what solutions come to your mind. This quiet thinking time can help you feel more confident and ready when it’s time to share your ideas with others or make those big decisions.

For Talkative Thinkers (External Processors):

If you’re someone who thinks best when you’re talking things out, that’s a great skill to have! But sometimes, it can help to take a moment to think before you start talking. This doesn’t mean you have to be silent for a long time. Just take a little pause to ask yourself what the most important thing you want to say is. Think about what your main point is or what you really want to get across. This can help you communicate more clearly and make sure the people you’re talking to understand your ideas. It can also help you stay on topic and make your conversations more productive. So before you jump into explaining something or making a decision out loud, take a brief moment to organize your thoughts. This way, you can make the best use of your natural ability to process thoughts by talking.

Counseling Help in the Denver Area

If you’re interested in delving deeper into the concepts of internal and external processing, numerous resources are at your disposal. Consider diving into books, browsing through online articles, participating in workshops, or consulting a professional therapist for guidance if you find yourself struggling with your thought processes. Armed with the insights from this article, you’ll gain a better grasp of your personal thinking patterns and those of your peers, enhancing teamwork and problem-solving capabilities.

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