You’ll never be the one talking incessantly. It’s just not your thing, but you do need to create a space for your voice to be heard. In time, your colleagues will get to know you and respect your style, but in the beginning, you’ll need to help them “get you”, so always be yourself. Don’t try to talk non-stop if that’s not you. If you don’t have the gift of gab, use your other gifts. You have everything you need, and probably even more than you imagine, but your thoughts may need time to percolate.
We think differently.
If you’re in a meeting and the boss says, “we need to change the colors of our brand” extroverts will be the first to shout out red, green, or whatever color comes to their mind first.
Introverts take a more thoughtful approach…
Why are we changing the color, and when? Is the current color not working for us? What are we trying to accomplish? What else is changing? Who are we targeting with a new color and why? What’s the color of our competitor’s brand? Did anybody talk to Marketing about this?
We all process things differently of course but in the moment, you may just seem quiet and non-responsive. Some of us are a little more talkative than others, but for those who are on the quieter side, here are some tips on how to be heard in your own special way.
Ask your questions aloud.
Someone will hear you. In a room full of people, with the influencers talking the most, you can still be heard. You do not have to shout. Connect with the leader through eye contact, raise your hand, stand up, or start talking when the noise settles. Someone will hear you. It may be the person next to you who says “Hey, Mike has an idea over here” and then the attention flows your way.
Wait until your one-on-one meeting. Wait until you run into the boss in the hallway and let them know that you’ve been thinking and have a couple ideas you’d like to share. Quickly share the overview at that very moment. It will be enough for the boss to determine if a formal meeting should be set up, or if it’s just fine to speak with you in the hallway for 10 minutes.
Either way…your voice will be heard.
Don’t want to ask your question aloud? Wait and share them later.
If you can, get the agenda before the meeting.
Is there an agenda that you could get beforehand that could help you come prepared with your well thought out plan or idea? If no agenda is available, can you find out from the meeting organizer about the topics for discussion? Do this a couple of days in advance because it will help you consume, process, analyze and plan. These are your strengths, so you have to find ways to demonstrate them. While others are throwing out idea after idea, your one amazing idea will stand out by showing depth, vision, clarity and thoughtful consideration.
If you have no idea what the meeting is about, do that other thing you do well – LISTEN. Go in and listen closely to what’s being said and what’s not being said. OBSERVE the players, their body language and their cues. Because our senses are usually keener than others, your abilities are heightened. Take notes.
No agenda? No problem.
Doodle. Yes, doodle.
Doodling may help you process as you draw circles, straight lines, flowers or words that stick out from the meeting. Don’t get caught by the boss though!!! You have to still look up and be engaged, so use a notebook vs a notepad which is too open for all to see. Turn back and forth from your doodle page to your notes.
After the meeting, go back to your work space and reflect. Go over your notes, doodles and mini day dreams. If there’s no time because you’re running to another meeting, find time reflect at some point later while everything is still fresh in your mind.