August 2, 2011 by Joyce Richman · Comments Off
I’ve written posts dedicated to the trials and tribulations of introverted employees who recognize their own potential while realizing that others don’t. I have described described techniques that the more quiet among us can use should they wish to become more visible, viable, and recognized members of the work community.
I’ve received some feedback: Many people don’t like “techniques”. They have an aversion to behaving in ways that are contrary to how they see themselves. They would rather remain true to their nature than to be seen as superficial, at best, and phony, at worst.
If that’s a concern of yours, and you’d rather not change yourself into a copy of someone else, let’s work with your strengths and ways to leverage them:
Most introverts don’t just listen; they have the natural capacity to listen deeply. They don’t take some information in, they take it all in. They stir it around, shove it here and poke it there. They don’t let go of the content or the intent until they have made sense of it. They connect it to information that arrived earlier and what they’ll take in later. They make sense of what they hear, and when invited, can present the abridged version of it, to those requesting their insights.
Introverts have the ability to contribute in significant ways to the process and progress of meetings. They take the varied comments that others make, assimilate, then aggregate them into a coherent whole. When they speak, they summarize what’s been said, without hyperbole. They connect the dots without having to control the dots.
Introverts, when working one on one, excel at providing feedback regarding the information their talking partner has just provided. They react in ways that demonstrate a deeper understanding of the issues than might otherwise be expected.
Anyone who chooses can maximize the introverts’ listening strength by 1. Invitation 2. Realization. 3. Presentation.
Invitation: Ask questions and give introverts sufficient time to respond. Introverts prefer to think before speaking, which necessitates pausing before they begin. If extroverts (who are more apt to speak before thinking) jump into the pause, the introvert will hold back. They’ll return to assimilating, editing, and silently testing the receptivity of the listener. So if you invite their thoughts, mean it, and listen to what they have to say.
Realization: Most introverts aren’t willing to compete for airtime against the more verbally aggressive and loquacious extroverts. They wait for an invitation to speak, an invitation they’re not apt to get. Why don’t they? Because they’re the quietest people in the room. How are others to know of their deep listening skills, their wit and wisdom? The likelihood of being asked an opinion, when not making an effort to offer one, is slim to none.
Presentation: Introverts don’t have much experience making presentations. When they must, they second-guess the phrasing, tonality, even banality of their expression. They seldom speak outside a select audience (close family, close friends), so they can be distracted by the sounds their voices make in a suddenly silent room. It isn’t surprising that as self critical as they are, they prefer to say less, not more. That’s everyone’s loss. It’s not that introverts are more or less intelligent, they just think longer and harder about what they hear and what they want to say.
Introverts: Bottom line, it’s going to take more energy than what you are currently expending to get your strengths out where the world (or your boss) can see them. You have more to offer than others realize. Provide them the visible and audible substance they need to determine that you not only have potential but also have the courage to act on it.
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Yes! You may use this article by Executive and Career Coach, Joyce Richman, in your blog, newsletter or website as long as you include the following bio box:
Joyce Richman (www.richmanresources.com) has been specializing in executive and career coaching since she started her own practice in 1982. She works in a variety of environments including: higher education, manufacturing, sales, marketing, media, technology, pharmaceuticals, medicine, banking and finance, service, IT, and non-profit sectors. A member of the adjunct faculty at the Center for Creative Leadership, Joyce is certified to administer a number of feedback and psychological instruments. Joyce is a weekly guest on WFMY-TV and the career columnist for The Greensboro News & Record. She is the author of Roads, Routes and Ruts: A Guidebook to Career Success and co-author of Getting Your Kid Out of the House and Into a Job. A popular speaker, Richman conducts seminars and workshops throughout the United States, Canada andEurope. Her coaching profile can be found at TheCoachingAssociation.com.
August 20, 2010 by Joyce Richman · Comments Off
The Jet Blue flight attendant event was the basis for my August 15, 2010 column in the Greenboro News & Record. I receive a few emails about my suggestion that there were other things to try before emulating the actions of the frustrated Jet Blue flight attendant.
An except from my column:
Understanding the other person’s perspective and knowing their story enables you to frame the exchange and navigate the intersection differently than you otherwise might. That’s not to say that you can yield to every argument or make peace with folks who just aren’t interested. What you can do is lower the intensity.
And some reader comments:
- I thought your column today was particularly good. The idea valuing others’ stories and moving closer to people you want to stay away from and talking more to those with whom you have little to say is outstanding advice. It is advice I have personally learned the hard way and advice I try to pass on to my clients. Thanks for a good, clear, useful column.
- Great article in Sunday’s paper. Very timely and very well written. Should be mandatory reading in the workplace! Now excuse me while I go blow off some steam………… I mean go listen to someone………..