Are you an introvert committing these communication crimes?

Please welcome guest blogger Patricia Weber. She kindly agreed to write a guest blog post on an issue dear to me. Yes, I am an introvert. Here is Patricia’s post.

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It’s a crime we somehow feel we cannot be ourselves, and instead we spin our wheels trying to be someone else. The operative word here being, trying.

In particular as introverts we will try to do as extroverts do. We still don’t have our voice heard and that can lead to feeling unfulfilled, puzzled and certainly – exhausted.

What would be more gratifying and have a bigger payoff would be to be the best us we can be.

Are you an introvert committing these communication crimes?

It wouldn’t be surprising you are feeling like you are spinning your wheels, just staying stuck.  Here are three communication crimes to bust open sooner not later.

Crime #1: Act more extroverted.

One of my first coaching clients was a couple, each of them introverts and neither liking to do the marketing required in any small business. Well no wonder! Who wants to market like an extrovert when we are more of an introvert?

Toward the three-month mark of working together they were taking action on more activities that gave them energy, and less on those that zapped them. For example, instead of adding more in-person networking to their agenda, they focused on writing a newsletter for over 500 connections they had. As their list grew so did their paying work.

To be clear there is only one real difference between an introvert and extrovert: it’s how we get energized. Extroverts thrive on everything going on around them and introverts get a charge and charge up from themselves. Just because we might want to limit our networking doesn’t mean there aren’t other means of marketing more one on one and quietly.

Crime buster #1 Believe in and be yourself.  To do this, you have to know the truth about yourself.

Crime #2: I have to overcome my introversion.

My most popular in-person presentation is “Introvert and Extrovert Networking Differences.” At the conclusion of one of these presentations where maybe about 40 people were in attendance, one of the participants came up to me. She thanked me for clarifying things for her. She was an extrovert.

“I never knew these differences and glad you cleared this up. I have a family member who I always thought was kind of weird. Shy I thought. She just would disappear from a family event and we wouldn’t know what we said to cause it! Thank you so much because now I understand what’s happening.”

Yes ma’am. We just often need to recharge when so much is going on around us like at a family or group dinner!

An extrovert found some wisdom in learning some truths about the more introverted.

If you are more introverted and think you have to overcome your introversion, you’re living with a lie.

Crime buster #2 Accept your differences. Know how to harness them to your advantage.

Crime #3: People don’t listen to me so why bother.

For people who listen more than talk, digging into this will help us help others be better listeners. You may think it’s easy for me to say because my background is 30 years in sales.

Listening more doesn’t mean we listen better. But since more is an advantage, make use of that time. What I think you will really like, as introverts we can do this exceptionally well!

I’m a bit biased that sales is one of the best ways to learn many communication skills for our success in business and life. Given that you likely won’t want to pursue a similar path, and at least as relates to giving up on getting people to listen to you, here’s the short guide to helping others listen as you want.

Ask questions. We’re naturally curious. Maybe as introverts more curious than many extroverts. So as you are listening ask questions that signal, “I’m with you. I hear what you are saying.” This also interrupts the more extroverted listener who often takes focused listening as a green light for them to talk more.

Come prepared. If you’re like me, my introvert preference is to be prepared. In getting be to listen to you play it to your advantage. In the Zen of Listening by Rebecca Z. Shafir who I interviewed for my most recent book, there’s a slight shift to make around our triggers in making more energy available for our listening. First you have to admit, “I get triggered by certain words or phrases.” I have a few I’ve worked on lately like, “step-brother.” When it comes up in family conversation I have to take a deep breath, focus and then listen. Otherwise I won’t be fully engaged in the conversation. If we bring in our natural preparedness tendency we can lessen the trigger effect if we know what sets us off. This way when you hear them and you can choose to recognize them and stop yourself from shutting down in the process.

Turn off WII-FM and tune in to MMFI-AM. This was drilled into me coming up through the sales ranks to management.  WII-FM is all about us, and is the acronym for “What’s In It For Me.” This won’t get your voice heard. But being fully engaged in listening to tune into MMFI –AM will help. “Make Me Feel Important About Myself.” The truth is one of the most basic human needs to be heard. Introverts are not alone in this. By listening more, we’re already at an advantage.

Crime buster #3 Use your naturally tendency to listen more to help others want to hear you. Be ready because – they may end up wanting to hear more from you.

Stop committing these crimes. You’ll be happier with yourself, more comfortable in all situations and get your voice heard in the process.

Can you relate to any of these crimes?

What are you going to do going forward to be the crime buster and help yourself?

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Patricia Weber
Patricia Weber

Patricia Weber, is supporting and inspiring the introvert with practical tools to navigate the rules at work with books, speaking and coaching.

She is an internationally recognized introvert authority in print, on radio and podcasts.

Her 2014 book, Communication Toolkit for Introverts is on Amazon and the publisher’s website.

She blogs for introverts at: http://www.patricia-weber.com

32 thoughts on “Are you an introvert committing these communication crimes?

  1. Nice post! I try to be a little both. Introverts are great at listening, hopefully, and extroverts get the attention, so it seems. But it is ever seldom so black and white 🙂 For me it really depends who I’m with. I’m much more extrovert around my friends, but I’m defiantly not the loudest. At work I’ve been trying to work on my listening skills, but if I get excited on a project, it’s sometimes hard to sit still enough to hear everything lol.

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    1. That is a true, Claire. If you are more comfortable with those around you than that changes things. I agree it is never one or the other. There’s a lit of gray here!

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  2. As usual such good advice from Patricia Weber. Guilty of the crimes she mentions in her post. I do feel a lot more positive after reading this post.

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  3. The suggestions in your post are excellent addressing the importance of self-acceptance. However, (you knew I’d throw a wrench in here): ) I think it’s important to keep in mind that the reliability and validity scores of personality traits tests, such as the Myers-Briggs are low. In addition, traits such as introversion and extroversion aren’t constant and change over time and within different situations. However, what your posts brings out is the importance of allowing ourselves to be ourselves, and knowing that’s OK. What we feel and who we are at any moment is just that, “us” at that moment. We don’t have to allow how we feel about ourselves in one situation to define who we are in every situation.

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  4. Finally Alice, a crime on your blog that I can guess the perpetrator. The writer did it! Patricia, you know how some diets give you 30 days a year to eat whatever you want. That’s what my introverted personality does. About 20 days a year I’m outgoing, overly social in public (as opposed to overly social on social media, the introverts haven), and don’t leave the party after an hour. K

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  5. I know I commit those crimes. This is going to be hard to explain, but it is not me communicating. As a pro wrestler, I had to adopt numerous personals for the ring. You can call it acting, but I carry those personalities when I have to communicate. Sometimes it is my character that I created over the years, he is not an introvert, and I have to use that part of me to communicate to others.

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  6. I love this quote: “listening more doesn’t mean listening better.” So true! These are all great points, too. Being yourself is easier said than done, I think. 🙂

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    1. Patricia, I am guilty of trying to be more social on days that I needed solitude just so I was acting the same as anyone else. I do not do that anymore. I carefully check my calendar for outings, lunches, and networking events. If I see too many, I cancel or block time for me. Just to be me, write, read, journal, etc. And I no longer feel guilty for doing that even though I know some do not understand. This me is and I am an introvert. No more excuses!

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  7. Great that you published a post about Patricia’s book, Alice. Have read and reviewed it. Here’s what I have to say: You will benefit from reading this book even if you are an extrovert. Patricia Weber’s intelligent in-depth writing is based on reputable research. Her astute observations will make you understand how both extroverts and introverts behave in different situations in business. It will make it easier for you to read your colleagues and counterparts and know what drives and motivates them. She also outlines the difference between extroverts and introverts and I learnt that being an extrovert is at least part of the explanation to why I’m an evening person. The drawback of the book is the dull cover and formatting. But ignore that because what Patricia Weber writes is excellent and the book is really worth reading. Not least since it enables us to mix introvert and extrovert skills to improve our performance in business.

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    1. Donna business and indeed social events (do family gatherings bring up any similar feelings?) encourage us to be a part of the chit chat and the games and the whole shebang. Interesting knowing you see 1 and 2 closely related. I see them as more separate and so when someone else gets a different interpretation – that’s WONDERFUL! Thanks.

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  8. I think most of us introverts are guilty of one or more or these… I always feel like I need to overcome my introversion! And then, after reading Patricia’s book, I’m saying to my self…”Whaaaaaaat?” LOL

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  9. I like “Be the best you can be”. That is something that I have always tried to pass on to our boys -You’re not someone else’s clone so don’t even try to be like them. These are great tips for the introverts and I do like the crimebusters listed.

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    1. Guilty here too, Maria. I do not have to overcome it to me me, it IS me.

      And yes, some networking or socialization just zaps all energy. Recharging alone is so important. But not everyone gets that. Patricia does and I am glad to see that you do too.

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