Working from home is meant to be introvert heaven! It’s not quite like that is it? Introverts and zoom meetings don’t always go together. Others in the team drive the conversation, it’s tiring and noisy, sometimes impossible to get a word in edgeways. Want to know how introverts can thrive in remote meetings? Read on, but first some background.
Do introverts hate zoom?
We all hate ineffective, loud meetings; zoom meetings are often like that. Introverts (and many others) often struggle to make their points in bad zoom meetings. In the “olden days” the problem was the open plan office; the noise, disruptions and difficulty in concentrating.
Team meetings were almost a welcome distraction, even though they were tiring and badly run. But at least it was possible to get a word in when you needed to and the ‘rules’ of influencing others were understood.
The working from home equivalent of a open plan office seems to be the open plan zoom room. Lots of people cutting into conversations, lots of noise, it’s hard to concentrate, let alone get your point across before everybody wants to get off of the call.
Introverts and zoom meetings.
In a zoom meeting all the normal team meeting problems exist, stopping the introvert inside you from operating at your best are still there:
- Last minute agenda: A last minute agenda doesn’t give anybody the time to consider their points of view.
- Last minute data: Not being given time to look at the data in detail, means less well informed discussions dominated by the louder external processing extroverts.
- Irrelevant small talk. Introverts tend to hate small talk and it’s even worse on zoom as it’s more dominated by one to two people.
It’s more tiring than a normal meeting, as you’re concentrating more for non-verbal signs, putting up with irrelevant chatter (“can your hear me” at a volume so high it makes your PC shake) and stupid background noises from unmuted attendees. Click for the scientific proof that zoom fatigue really exists.
How to thrive in virtual team meetings, as an introvert
Some introverts hate zoom, other’s don’t; whatever your preference here’s 3 points to help you be a thriving introvert on zoom:
- Preparation: As an introvert you probably already prepare for meetings. Add to that by ensuring you are expert in the system you’re using, with decent headphones and microphone. Try not to rely on the inbuilt speakers and mic, there’s often a short delay as they switch from listen to transmit, making it harder for you to interject. Be even more clear on the agenda than normal. Write your points down before the meeting, then rewrite them more succinctly, they’ll be easier to put across that way.
- Help your manager prepare: Help your manager get the meeting pack ready a week early, then you know the agenda was sent out in time for you to prepare.
- Offer to help run the meeting: Can you help your manager by running the meeting for her (see notes on facilitating)? Then you get heard without having to fight your way into the conversation. Could you run the meeting from a technical perspective, muting/ unmuting and doing the slides?
Not only do these points help you perform better in the meeting, you’re also seen as proactive by your manager. Read improve team meetings for more ideas to help.
I keep hearing that introverts are struggling in many virtual team meetings; it doesn’t have to be like that. Being proactive can show you in a good light and make the meeting a more pleasant experience.