Research shows introverts are better at leading proactive employees and visa versa. Learn how to flex your style to be best to all, and see examples of great flexible leaders.
- I love the Arabic proverb, "Open your mouth, "only if what you're about to say is "more beautiful than silence." I think many introverts would agree. But if we are to influence others, we must be heard. If we are to have credibility, we must be noticed. So let's look at some ways we can increase our visibility. John is an introvert who knows he sometimes goes unnoticed.
He's sitting in his usual corner spot. He's listening but not saying much, trying not to take up too much space. People might leave this meeting and not even remember if John had attended. But he's on his way to fixing that with some simple changes. See if these tips will help your visibility as well. First, arrive at a meeting early and take a seat in the center.
Corners are psychological weak spots according to Preston Ni in his book, Confident Communication for Introverts. Shake hands and greet people by name as they enter. That's a sure way to help people notice you. Next, check your seat height. Bring your chair level with others at the table. Now let's work on that posture. John is going to engage his abdominal muscles and imagine a string in the top of his head connecting to the ceiling, pulling his head up but keeping his chin level.
Make some small talk as people arrive. Diane Cameron captured my feelings perfectly when she wrote, "Introverts crave meaning, "so chit chat feels like sandpaper to our psyche." It helps to have a meaningful question in mind for each person at the meeting. And now the meeting begins. Even if you can't come up with an idea on the spot, you can always ask a question. Give yourself a goal for every 15 to 20 minutes of meeting time, ask at least one question or offer one insight.
Another tip, share even unformulated thoughts. Remind yourself it's okay to spitball. Use a hedge if it makes you feel better, something like I'm just thinking out loud here. Or I haven't had much time to think about this, but... A hedge isn't ideal because it can hurt your credibility, but it's better than saying nothing. Use people's names during the meeting. If John says, "Hey, Alex, could you tell us "a bit more about that?" Alex won't forget that John was there and engaged.
Take up some physical space. Notice how John has put a few belongings on the table and is taking notes. You can show how engaged you are even without words. And when you speak, gesture with elbows away from your rib cage. Taking up space makes us more visible to others. Make direct eye contact and smile at speakers. See what a difference these changes make? Now introverted or not, John's presence at this meeting will be noticed.
- Knowing yourself
- Inward vs. outward
- Being vs. doing
- Stretching the introvert
- Making decisions
- Influencing and leading others
- Stretching the extrovert
- Multitasking mindfully
- Networking strategically