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