Have you ever wanted to join in with conversations more, and perhaps felt that not doing so was holding you back? Perhaps you’ve decided you’re an introvert and worry that you don’t have the confidence to join in with conversations, or think that’s it you’ll never be the life and soul of the party. You don’t have to be the life and soul of the party to do well in business and add value to conversations in a way that leaves others grateful for your expertise.
Introverts and conversations
An introvert doesn’t crave friendship and tend to be very happy in their own company. An extrovert tends to be much less happy in their own company and a shy person may not want to talk at all, unless asked.
A perceived downside of joining in with conversations sometimes and not at other times, is that you may be perceived as aloof (if you’re not regarded as shy).
8 tips to be more confident in a conversation
- Focus on the purpose: Typical introverts don’t find pointless small talk enjoyable, or relevant. So, what is the purpose of the conversation and what you’ll get from joining in. If it’s a networking meeting you might want to get to know somebody, before discussing business, at an conference you might want to understand another view better.
- Dress to make you feel good. Most people have some clothes that make them feel good, and some that make them more relaxed. If you’re at a business meeting and want to feel more confident, wear the clothes that make you stand taller and feel better.
- Don’t compare yourself to others. A common problem is when people start to consider their views less useful than others in the conversation. The more you compare your self to those others, the more likely you are to feel this. The other person may have strong views and may be extroverted, but that doesn’t make them 100% right and you wrong! In fact your viewpoint is likely to be more considered and more useful to others in the conversation, so speaking up will be welcomed. Comparing yourself to others is rarely useful!
- Sick close to your friends: If you have a friend with you, or somebody you trust, it’s much easier to feel confident. Your friend might even be willing to invite you into the conversation and that often makes your view easier to express.
- Look after your solo time: Being an introvert in a group setting, specially with people you don’t know well and eve more with egotistical extroverts, can drain your energy. Draining your energy is simply that, you can join in, you’re good at your subject. What you need to do it to protect yourself by allowing yourself some quiet time to re-energise.
- Listen hard, summarise and ask powerful questions. A great strength of many introverts is their ability to really listen to what’s being said. Use your superpower, listen and then when the time is right ask the question that your gut tells you is what’s needed.
- Link others back into the conversation. You might not want to hog the limelight, you might revel in being fair and equitable, or you may just want to ensure the conversation is deeper rather than shallow small talk. One good way of doing this is to link others around you into the conversation, they’ll appreciate a carefully worded piece of recognition and it means you steer the conversation away from the big egos.
- Help the group to structure the conversation. Linking the last two points is another introvert’s superpower. Introverts tend to be good at structure, the type of structure that helps people to see the wood for the trees. You can add structure to the conversation with short summaries, relevant questions and linking others back into the conversation.
What else would help you, as an introvert, be more confident in a conversation?
I would really appreciate three minutes of your time to understand your views of extroversion, introversion and how (if?) they affect performance in business.