Thursday, March 8, 2012

Your quiet power in meetings, part 1

You know that you have a lot to offer even if you're quiet. But it's often hard for quiet types to leap into a dialogue when we're competing for floor time with more spontaneous extroverts. Introverts need time to ponder before entering into discussions and, if we're shy even though not introverted, it may simply be challenging to jump in. 

The first thing an introvert or shy person can do is to realize that good consensus decision-making requires your input. I once made the mistake in a start-up team meeting of thinking that my colleague who seemed most confident - his name was Chris - actually knew what he was talking about.  Ha!  He did not. Chris was a great guy - handsome too - but he definitely had more confidence than knowledge.

Lesson?  I let my team down by clamming up. Our results were inferior and that's nothing to brag about. Had I spoken up, my team might have done much better in the first meeting.  Lesson learned: clamming up lets the team down, not just me.

So take your quiet power.  Your input matters.  You bring a thoughtfulness to teams that may otherwise be lacking.  In a future series of posts, I'll talk about some more strategies - beyond mindset - you an introvert can employ to navigate - without being like the extroverts around you.