I just got off of a coaching call with a VP of an organization who is a relatively new hire. As such, he needs to meet with new people, get comfortable presenting in front of new people and create new relationships. As many introverts are, he is most comfortable engaging one on one. He is quite charming and disarming and can connect well with good questions and conversation.
He is particularly challenged by his introverted style in a public setting. Some of the things we discussed are applicable to everyone, let me share a few basics with you here:
Go into the room, the meeting, the networking event, with the idea that you are acting as host/hostess.
Your focus is to make others comfortable.
This does two very important things:
- It takes the focus away from yourself (your own discomfort) and puts your focus on others’ (making them comfortable).
- It requires you to be observant. Many introverts prefer analytics to people – use your talent. Analyze the room: Who is standing alone in a networking environment? Who is distracted in a meeting? You can engage with them easily whether in a 1:1 setting or from a stage; both will be happy you are acknowledging them, engaging with them, interested in them.
You don’t need to walk into a room, a meeting, a networking event cold. Most introverts are planners. They like to be prepared, they make lists, they do research.
Don’t try to be something you are not. Be true to who you are. Use your talents!
If it’s a networking environment here are 3 things you can do to prepare:
- Who’s attending – get the list. Pre- form a relationship. Go to LinkedIn and share that you saw they will be attending the event you are; you look forward to meeting them (and maybe why). It will be much easier when you have someone (or a few people) ready to receive you at the event and a topic already tee’d up. Yes?
- What if you can’t get access to a list of attendees? When you sign up for the event reach out and ask who is attending from the Membership Committee or from the Board and tell them you are new to the event and would appreciate a couple of introductions. Offer to share a bit about you so they can identify who to connect you with or be specific about the reason you are attending to help them identify the best fit for your goals.
- Come prepared with questions. Not ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions as this will be a short-lived conversation, but ‘why’ or ‘how’ questions to create a dialogue. Here’s an illustration of such a question: Don’t: Are you glad you came to the event this evening? Do: Why did you decide to attend this event, what brought you out?
If it’s a business meeting or event you are attending the same ideas apply.
Here are a few specifics for those settings:
- You will design who is attending if it is your meeting. You will likely have a mix of extroverts and introverts in your meeting (also true of a company event). Again, use the talents and the tools at hand.
- Although you may be more analytical in nature you can eliminate some of the details that are not actually necessary (even if you may find them interesting or helpful for you).
- Stay higher level. Talk about the WHY of the update and its impact. As a leader, continue to create and re-state vision. Another way of saying this is to be sure you are creating context – looking at the bigger picture and steer clear of diving into the weeds.
- Another sure-fire way to keep people engaged and to be more dynamic in those settings is to use story. A relevant story can take the place of, or be used as the vehicle, to share needed data. But what if you’re not a good story-teller? Not a problem. Who is attending your meeting? You can prepare someone who enjoys telling a story in advance what the point is you want to convey, ask them to share a story with you, make sure it hits the point you want and invite them to share it at the meeting. You can then finish off by hitting the key point. It’s about the story, not the story-teller.
I wonder what tips you may have to offer from your own experiences – what worked for you? (And If you’re an introvert who’s feeling shy about sharing your lesson learned, I invite you to practice! Remember the first item about mindset – it’s about making others feel comfortable. How might you contribute to another with your story or tip?)
#Introvert #Mindset #Preparation #CommunicationStyle #Tips
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