The No. 1 way to determine if you're an introvert or extrovert

Are you an introvert or extrovert? This exercise will help you find out
Are you an introvert or extrovert? This exercise will help you find out

To determine whether you're an introvert or an extrovert, you must ask yourself one question: Where do you get your energy?

That's according to Susan Cain, best-selling author of "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking," and one of the most popular TED Talks speakers of all time with over 17 million views.

Imagine that you're at a party surrounded by people you like, she tells CNBC Make It. After a few hours of nonstop dancing and socializing, two things may happen. If you're an extrovert you will feel charged up and ready for the after party. Conversely, you'll leave feeling drained if you're an introvert.

"For an introvert, it doesn't matter how good a time you've been having and it doesn't matter how socially skilled you might be," says Cain. "At the end [of the party], your internal battery is probably draining and so you're starting to wish that you were home in your pajamas."

There's a biological explanation behind this: Introverts and extroverts have different nervous systems, says Cain, which means that each personality type reacts differently to outside stimuli.

Introverts, for example, react much more to stimulation than their counterparts. "For introverts, we feel at our most alive and switched on when things are a bit calmer because there's less stimulation coming at us," Cain explains.

On the other hand, extroverts' nervous systems react less to stimulation, which means that they feel at their best when there is more happening. "For you, the liability is that when there's not very much going on, you'll start to feel bored and sluggish," says Cain. "And it will be hard for you to stay engaged."

Susan Cain
Kimberly White | Getty Images

At work, introverts and extroverts have vastly different preferences on how they want to spend their time and interact with fellow colleagues.

Take meetings, for example. Extroverts enjoy thinking on their feet, brainstorming on the fly and simultaneously processing and articulating information.

Introverts? Not so much. In attacking a problem, introverts want to dive deep into the issue at hand and get there right away, says Cain. Extroverts will want to work their way into the problem first by connecting with their cohorts and discussing topics that may have nothing to do with the current subject.

"For introverts that can make them impatient," explains Cain. "For extroverts, if that's not happening, they may feel like they don't have the glue between them and the other person to actually get the problem solved."

Cain notes that navigating the workplace can be difficult for introverted employees because we live in a world that caters primarily to extroverts. This is problematic, she says, considering that introverts make up almost half of the population.

However, introverts have their own strengths, particularly their ability to interact with others on a deeply personal level.

"Quiet, more reflective temperaments have really influenced the world," she says, "so workplaces should adapt to harness the talents of introverts."

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See also:

Here's a major way introverts can score a promotion

4 ways managers can keep introverted and extroverted employees from clashing

4 ways famous introverts Bill Gates and Warren Buffett can help you be a better boss

Google career coach explains the secret strengths of introverts
Google career coach explains the secret strengths of introverts