How does an introverted leader compete for space with other extroverts in a meeting?
Do you ever find yourself overrun by other (much more verbose) people in a meeting?
Do you rather think quietly before you speak?
Do you find it exhausting to be around people (especially ones who talk a lot) for a long time?
Most likely you are in introvert.
An introvert is one who gets his or her energy from themselves. They need space and time to think. They prefer intimate conversations over large group mingles. They can be misunderstood as aloof, awkward, or socially inept. On the contrary, I have found them to be very caring, to have lots of wonderful and meaningful things to say, and can be very easy to be with. (Here is a great article I found by a fellow introvert “Caring for Your Introvert-Jonathan Rauch“)
When I work with my introverted executives, more often than not, they will want me to help them be more successful at meetings. They think they should speak more, compete for space, be louder to get noticed. The truth is they should do NONE of these things.
So, How does an introverted leader compete for space with other extroverts in a meeting?
1. You DON’T. If you do you will loose. This is not your forte. And by nature it will exhaust you, because you are not built that way. You will then be leading from your weakness instead of your strength.
2. Learn to make space for yourself. Introverts have to learn to respect your own style. You have just as much right to ask for quiet space as the extroverts assume their rights to take up space. So when everyone is talking (and most of the time it’s giberish), invite the group to stop talking for a minute. Just to let things settle and wisdom to emerge. This will give you time and space to find what is important to say and to lead the group forward.
3. Trust your own wisdom. In my observation over the years (and I am half introvert and half extrovert by the way) extroverts talk 80% of the time, and only 20% of what they say is important and new. While the introverts talk about 20% of the time, but 80% of what they say is important and should be listened to. So trust yourself introverts. You have valuable things to say and the group need to hear it. They are just busy with their own noises. So you need to help them hear you.
When you do these three things, you will be leading from your strength. You will be commanding the space instead of running after the noise. This way of being is very powerful, and people will walk away with the impression that you are someone they can trust, listen to, and take leadership from. Isn’t that what you have always wanted?