The meeting in the company – the big stage for extroverted self-promoters. Those who do not talk themselves into the foreground put themselves in a wrong position. And if you think too long before you start talking, you will unfortunately also get lost in the meeting. Here are seven tips to help introverts get involved and have their say.
A scene you may also be familiar with: A colleague tells anecdotes and dominates the meeting. He’s a funny guy who’s a pleasure to listen to. But not everything he says can be taken seriously. It doesn’t matter; the other participants are listening carefully anyway. You are also listening attentively, but you’re staying out of the discussion, even though you’ve just had a brilliant idea run through your cerebellum. But is now the right time for it? Do the others possibly not find it as clever as I do? That’s it; the meeting is over while you’re still going through your strategy in your head. Your colleague’s ideas will be widely discussed in the next few days, and your genius stroke will end nowhere.
Of course, it’s not the case that extroverts only tell stories in meetings, and introverts have flashes of genius floating around in the back of their heads. But gatherings are highly social, dynamic, interactive entities – power plays, theater, and sometimes high drama. It’s no wonder you sometimes don’t want to have a conversation.
It is not possible for every meeting to be called on short notice, but often the date is already fixed in advance. In these cases, good preparation is half the battle. If you are uncomfortable giving a free, impromptu speech in front of a dozen listeners, you should rehearse the essential points in front of a mirror beforehand. This is the only way to guarantee that your points are appropriately punctuated with gestures. This is neither embarrassing nor ridiculous, but a tried and tested means. To do this, you need to give two or three thoughts beforehand about the content you want to introduce. Preparation ties up energy, which should be proportional to the benefits. But not every meeting requires the same amount of time and energy. However, seemingly unimportant meetings offer a good training ground for putting what has been tried and tested into practice.
If you take a notepad into a meeting, you have something to hold onto, literally and figuratively. Prepared individual keywords are often sufficient for a content tool that saves you from too much improvisation. It is better to take too many notes than not enough, but they should be well structured. Don’t be afraid to read them off directly as needed, too. A notepad even makes you look well prepared and professional.
It is well-known that meetings generate a lot of ‘hot air’ and thus are perceived as a waste of time. Therefore, don’t worry too much about everything and everyone. If you even let slip an inappropriate remark that doesn’t directly offend anyone – it’s no big deal. Because minutes later, it’s usually forgotten. That is easier said than done. But if you believe your meeting is not about saving the world, it will help you relax.
Being present is not synonymous with speaking non-stop. Make sure to listen carefully to others, pay attention to small details, and follow the content. Also, be mentally present when you are not speaking. Because the truth is, your mind often wanders. Regardless of whether you’re an extrovert or an introvert. A little tip: Drink some coffee beforehand or give your body a quick little energy booster.
Using gestures correctly
As already mentioned in the context of preparation, use the correct body language and facial expressions to emphasize your arguments, especially if you tend to speak softly. Depending on the situation, using your hands can be particularly important. So, feel free to practice a bit – even in front of the mirror.
Did the earlier speaker deliver an amazing display of punchlines with relatively little content? Or was it one useless statement that followed the next? You have patiently endured all of this and listened attentively until, at some point, you felt your collar was about to burst. The impulse to finally tell everyone what you think could turn you into a know-it-all in no time. It is therefore better to refrain from that! Instead, start slowly and then increase over time. Get the others on board with sensible suggestions that help you. After the first few sentences, you can always go ahead and make your point- if you feel the need to do so.
Remain true to yourself
The most important rule is don’t try to change overnight and turn yourself into a permanent speaker. Others can certainly do that better. Follow your impulses, and don’t deprive yourself of your strengths. Don’t put on a mask that you don’t feel comfortable behind. However, little by little, allow more room for change and new things.
Every person wants respect and recognition. But for fear of not receiving it and being rejected by colleagues, some disguise themselves to hide weaknesses and keep that perfect image. More than likely, that includes the non-stop talkers in your meeting.