As an introvert myself, I’ll add some first hand analysis to your insight here.
When I’m around people, regardless of the number of people that I’m around, I pay attention to, study really, what they are doing, how they are doing it and try to figure out why they are doing what they are doing and why they are doing it how they are doing it.
The same goes for a conversation, I’ll study what everyone is saying, how they are saying it, try to figure out why they are saying it and most importantly, what they aren’t saying.
I’ll do that if there are five people around me or one hundred.
So, when I’m engaged in a group conversation with 10 people at a party that is composed of 100 people. I’m not only engaged in that conversation, but I’m also studying the other groups, albeit from a distance. Before I say something, I’ll be thinking about what the conversation is about, how the conversation is being held, because context matters and frequently modifies what type of communication is most effective or appropriate, and I’ll be trying to figure out why the conversation is happening.
Thus, the last thing that I think about is what I’m going to say, what I think about first is what other people have already said or haven’t said and what bits of knowledge I have may be useful in the conversation and which may be redundant.
It’s like a card game, the cards that people don’t pick up and don’t play tell one more about what’s in their hand that what they have picked up and have played.
In short, being engaged in such a manner is exhausting labor. I’m in good enough physical shape to bike 25–30 miles without being sore or tired at all the next day. But if I go to a big party, without drinking or anything like that, I will be virtually useless the next day because.
Bizarrely, many introverts, myself included, can be effective entertainers. Johnny Carson was as hardcore of an introvert as I am, Robin Williams was to a great degree as is Mike Myers.
We have a switch, some of use at least, where we can use our powers of observation and analysis to elicit joy on a large scale. Some, not all and likely not most, but some of the greatest leaders were and are introverts too. It all depends on if one who is introverted wants to put out that much energy or not.
The extreme extroverts that I know well are enlivened or recharged by being around people. I can’t say why for sure, but I think that it has a lot to do with their lack of focus or notice of what other people are doing around them on any nuanced level.
Not to be overtly contrary, but I do question how many introverts think first about what they are going to say, then about what others response will be, as you proposed.
My own process is to study people first so that when I do say something, I have an embedded sense of what their reply would be. I do produce mock conversations with other people in my own mind, to a great degree to challenge my own comprehension of an issue, so that part you got mostly right. But, for me the succession of thought events is a bit off.
Having said that, I applaud your thoughts on the value of introverts, who are frequently, as you pointed out, unjustly maligned for sport.