Picture this: You arrive in a conference room bustling with your colleagues and bosses. The meeting begins and everyone else is piping up, pontificating, and jockeying for attention in a spirited discussion while you’re sitting there contemplating what you might add to the dialog. In fact, your best thoughts gel only after the meeting ends.
Research suggests that your silence might cost you in the career department. But does it have to be that way? If you're an introvert, your preference to think before you speak can actually be an advantage. It means that when you do speak, you’re more likely to have something to say. However, you may find it challenging to speak up before you’re ready to do so. Why not rest up and get ready beforehand so you’ll show up at meetings refreshed and with several key points already formulated?
Following up on my recent story titled “Secrets to a Successful Introvert-Extrovert Team,” now I’ll share some tips to help introverts and extroverts* work well together. You can apply these tips to one-on-one interactions (your preference if you’re an introvert) as well as to larger group meetings.
Introverts working with extroverts
- Recognize extroverts’ need to interact and think out loud.
- Appreciate extroverts’ need for small talk; prepare a few light conversation topics.
- Get on the agenda for meetings or chair them.
- Expect to brainstorm; do some thinking in advance.
- Jump in; interject when necessary—in a strong, confident voice.
Extroverts working with introverts
- Recognize introverts’ need for reflection time before they state their views.
- Extroverts: get your social fix ahead of time.
- Schedule meetings; don’t drop in on introverts.
- Don’t interrupt; if you tend to do so, count to three in your head before you speak.
- Understand that introverts tend to tackle one task at a time; don’t expect them to multi-task.
For more tips and insights about introverts and extroverts working together harmoniously, check out my book, Self-Promotion for Introverts®.
Cameron Anderson and Gavin J. Kilduff, "Why Do Dominant Personalities Attain Influence in Face-to-Face Groups? The Competence-Signaling Effects of Trait Dominance," Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2009, Vol, 96, No. 2, 491-503.
*Also spelled "extraverts" by Carl Jung and the communities of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® and other personality assessments such as the Five Factor Model.