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E-Quipped to... Get the Best From Both Extraverts and Introverts in Meetings
This newsletter introduces Getting the Best From Extraverts and Introverts in the Workplace, a comprehensive article found on my website.
In any workforce, there are most likely to be both extraverts (spelling as used in MBTI publications) and introverts. Both personality types have distinct strengths and weaknesses in the workplace and understanding each type can lead to a winning work formula: greater harmony and greater productivity.
The trick is to create a work environment where everyone can work to their strengths. With some understanding and thought, and by implementing a few practical changes, this can be easily achieved.
Image by: fauxels
One of the strengths that extroverts have is their ability to “wing it”. They can walk into a meeting or an interview with little to even no preparation and find a way to leave a good impression through the use of their outgoing personality. The social stimulation of engaging in person is really beneficial for extraverts who thrive in these settings. But this is not a strength that introverts have. In fact, going into a meeting or job interview unprepared will leave most introverts flustered and worried and they will not be able to perform at their best.
To get the most out of both personality types, implement the following:
Plan meetings in advance and circulate agendas beforehand
The expectation to think fast on their feet strikes fear into the heart of most introverts. Introverts tend to be thoughtful, preferring to plan out what they want to say. You can help your introverts contribute at meetings when you circulate the agenda ahead of time, giving them time to prepare their thoughts and ideas. If you are particularly wanting employees to share their own ideas, make it clear that you expect this and that you will be giving everyone the chance to contribute to the discussion.
Create space for introverts to speak, use their name but do not put them on the spot
The meeting free-for-all when attendees contribute to the discussion as and when they want, with interruptions, all talking at once etc. works very well for extraverts, but not at all for introverts.
Extraverts launch in without hesitation and because they are loud and enthusiastic they will make sure they are heard. Do give them a chance to talk, because extraverts work things out by talking. But be aware that extraverts often do not give the quieter introverts a chance to speak.
Introverts might have brilliant ideas to share, but unless they are specifically given the chance to share – a space in the discussion when no one else is talking or interrupting – they will happily say nothing. They do not have the ‘need’ to talk that extraverts have. This seems unbelievable to an extravert, but a really strong introvert may never share anything unless they are specifically invited to speak by name: e.g. “Jamie, what do you think?”
Going ‘round the circle’, speaking one at a time, in turn, is not a helpful meeting strategy either. The extraverts who want to speak right away just get frustrated waiting for their turn, especially if they are going to be one of the last to speak, and introverts who may not be ready to speak, panic as their turn comes closer and closer. Rather let everyone know that you expect to hear from them during the meeting (mentioned in the agenda) and that they must speak up as and when they are ready.
Allow for written documents after the meeting
Introverts prefer writing to talking, so inviting attendees to send emails or share cloud-based documents after the meeting works to an introvert’s strength. Any thoughts and ideas that were not raised in the meeting are still able to be shared for the benefit of all.
Hold Meetings in Various Ways
It’s traditional to hold in-person meetings. But these types of situations easily put introverts on edge. With technology, there are so many options such as conference calls or video calls. Try to hold meetings in a variety of ways (other than just in-person) to give your introverted employees who don’t prefer social situations a chance to breathe and feel more comfortable speaking up.
Ask for one-on-one meetings with introverts
Crowds and a lot of interaction drain introverts. Requesting one-on-one meetings ensures that the introverts won’t be over-stimulated and that they can give you their full attention. Of course, you need to invite them in advance so that they have the opportunity to prepare for the meeting.
Allow Days without meetings
Understand that a meeting isn’t just the hour you’ve scheduled it. For an introvert, it’s also the time beforehand to prepare and time afterwards to reboot. To help your introverts stay most productive, allow workdays where no meetings are allowed.
My article Getting the Best From Extraverts and Introverts in the Workplace gives tips on how to also make the most of:
And you can read more about extraverts and introverts in the following articles I have written:
Thank you for the Feedback
Thanks to Queen, Wendy, Irena, Cheryl, Evelyn and Shelley for the feedback after the last newsletter.
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You may have been forwarded this email by a friend. In that case, allow me to introduce myself. I am a psychologist, speaker, trainer, coach and hat lover based in Kloof, a suburb of Durban, South Africa. I also do online counselling and coaching and I have clients all over the world.
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