I recently shared what every introvert needs to know to communicate well with extroverts*. Now let’s look at the other side of the coin, from my book, Self-Promotion for Introverts®: The Quiet Guide to Getting Ahead:
How extroverts can communicate well with introverts
- Welcome introverts to state our opinions, but avoid putting us on the spot. Distribute an agenda and ask for our input privately, by e-mail, prior to a meeting to give us time to compose our thoughts.
- Avoid asking introverts questions that we may experience as too personal or invasive; be patient with our need to get to know you over time.
- Limit chitchat to the beginning of a conversation, and get to the more substantive parts more quickly.
- Just as you may have a breadth of knowledge on many topics, appreciate introverts for our depth of knowledge about a few topics.
- Make appointments with introverts rather than dropping by unannounced.
- Respect introverts’ need for private space. Do not stand too close during a conversation or reach into our space.
- Remember that what you ?nd stimulating (e.g., multitasking) may be overwhelming for introverts; many of us need to quietly focus on one thing at a time.
- Consider meeting with your introverted colleagues in a quiet space to help ensure minimal interruptions. Do something more social before and after the meeting if you need more people time.
- Give introverts time alone to do our best thinking and allow for suf?cient breaks during meetings.
- Recognize that introverts tend to undersell our accomplishments and potential contributions.
- Let introverts ?nish speaking, count to three (to yourself!), and then speak; do not ?ll in the pauses.
For more stories about introverts and extroverts, see “5 Things Every Introvert Should Know About Extroverts (and Vice Versa)” and “Secrets to a Successful Introvert-Extrovert Team.”
Excerpt adapted from: Nancy Ancowitz, Self-Promotion for Introverts®: The Quiet Guide to Getting Ahead, McGraw-Hill, 2009, pp. 217-219.
*Also spelled “extraverts” by Carl Jung and the communities of the MBTI® and other personality assessments such as the Five Factor Model.
Correction: In an earlier version of this story, the headline that currently reads, “How extroverts can communicate well with introverts” inadvertently read, “How introverts can communicate well with extroverts.”
© Copyright 2010 Nancy Ancowitz