Tips to include advance agendas, asking for time to think before making a decision, giving yourself time to think before answering a question, and asking for silent brainstorming time.
- I admire how extroverts like Tatiana can think on their feet and come up with a dozen ideas in the blink of an eye. But spouting ideas isn't an introvert's strength. Our great ideas are likely to happen after some quiet reflection. Here are some tips for buying time to think. First, ask for agendas in advance of meetings. Not only does this help the introvert have some think time, our meetings will be more efficient.
If your goal is solving a problem, communicate the problem early. Ask that people come to the meeting prepared with their best ideas. Then when you're in a meeting or conversation, use phrases like, "I need a minute to think about this." Or, "Give me a second, I want to be "very clear about what I say." People are so uncomfortable with silence that they may keep talking which makes it hard for us to think because we're good listeners.
So in that case, I've sometimes excused myself from a meeting for a quick stretch break or a bathroom break and I use that time to think. I don't check my phone as I walk away. Instead I just breathe and ponder. Advocate for silent brainstorming a few minutes before group brainstorming happens. Researchers tell us that the ideas generated will be more diverse and more plentiful when we use this technique.
Finally, let's encourage our teams to have a period of consideration before making decisions. Separate problem identification from solution. Ideally your pre-meeting agenda clarifies that you won't be making a decision yet. In the meeting explain why you think it is best to delay decision making. Say things like, "For those of us who have "our best ideas after the meeting, "can we agree to sleep on this and revisit it next week?" Or, "I want to give this some real consideration.
"Can you give me until tomorrow afternoon to ponder? "I'll email my thoughts." Now of course you need to follow through or else you'll lose your credibility and be see as stalling. Tatiana and I were asked to brainstorm the name of a new coaching center at the university where we teach. After a brief group brainstorm, my action-oriented, extroverted teammates wanted to pick a name and move on. I wasn't thrilled with any of the ideas and felt confident that a little more thought would bring up better ideas.
I encouraged the team to delay the decision and sure enough we continued our thinking individually and then by email came up with a perfect solution. These tips are helpful for buying think time, but some days we just need to make a decision. Let's explore decision making for introverts in this next video.
- Knowing yourself
- Inward vs. outward
- Being vs. doing
- Stretching the introvert
- Making decisions
- Influencing and leading others
- Stretching the extrovert
- Multitasking mindfully
- Networking strategically