Introvert Barriers: Meeting Silence and 5 Things to do about it
Introverts (even leaders) tend to be quiet in a group setting, not because they have nothing to contribute, but because they are listening. Is this starting to sound like you yet? Introverts will speak up when they have something to say and when they see the need to inject their thoughts.
As a budding leader, this meeting silence has several implications to your plan for career growth and leadership. Depending on the culture of your organization (and how extroverted it is) that silence may be perceived with a wide range of meaning. It can be interpreted as anywhere from standoffish to boring, to not being part of the team, or even lacking leadership contribution. It can make other people uncomfortable. Let’s just say, there is nothing career enhancing about the potential that silence in meetings offers.
Are you going to let your silence stand in the way of a bigger paycheck and corner office?
If you know you are this way to any degree, it’s time to make changes that will put a polish on your Personal Brand and will serve you well.
- Change your body language. Make sure that your body isn’t putting out the wrong signal. Open your arms and legs, keeping your arms above – not below the table. Lean in occasionally to demonstrate listening and engagement. When speaking, make sure to add a few gestures. If you need to, practice both things in private to get comfortable. Animation is the secret sauce to extroversion.
- Make an input goal. You don’t have to start big right out of the chute. I suggest to my introvert clients to take a goal to inject your input 2 or 3 times over the course of any given meeting. Keep track of it so you remain conscious of doing this work. If you’re not clear what you would contribute, you can do several things: Endorse someone’s’ opinion. Ask questions and then comment about the response. Since you probably know the topic of the meeting, come prepared to contribute with data or perspective from your work.
- Speak up. When a group is not accustomed to having you speak, it may not act inclusive. A group can also increase its volume if a discussion goes for any length. Plan to inject louder and over the top of someone else. We tend to politely wait for a pause in the conversation, which may not come until it’s too late. This does sap an introvert’s energy, so take your vitamins. (Hey look here – if you notice, most of what get’s said in a meeting is simply a rehash of what someone else said. Have you noticed that you say something great and when it gets repeated by someone else, everyone acts amazed? Be amazing and repeat what someone else said!)
- Work with key players ahead of time. Depending on the nature of the meeting, plan to interact with some of the key players and frequent talkers ahead of time. Learn each other’s perspectives and they will be more apt to be supportive conversationalists when the time comes. This should appeal to you, as introverts prefer more intimate interactions.
- Take a break. The issue with the meeting setting and the behavior outlined above is that it quickly depletes your energy. To restore your energy level and be able to push on to the next meeting on the same day, you can do any of several things. You can simply go back to your office and spend alone time on a project or reading a report. You might find that a walk around the building is a nice break. Finding solitude in a steamy cup of coffee will help tremendously. When you plan this way, you will more likely be able to push ahead for more of the same throughout the day. Without doing this, you risk a ‘system shutdown’, which won’t be your goal.
While it may seem like there is a huge distinction between you and the major mover and shaker in the group, it doesn’t take too much change to make a big difference. This is the kind of difference that will make a significant impact in you being seen as the shining leader you know you can be.
As an introvert, you have tremendous assets to bring to any company. Learn introvert ‘adaptation’ strategies that will greatly enhance your career growth. Let me share other vital strategies that will make a huge difference by signing up for my FREE newsletter and also receiving my FREE bonus eworkbook “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” to learn things you can do today to further enhance your job. Click here now: Get your copy of “Should I Stay or Should I Go!”
This is brought to you by Dorothy Tannahill-Moran, Introvert Whisperer & Career Success Champion at: www.nextchapternewlife.com.