As a high percentage Introvert in a corporate world, one of the things I have struggled with in the past is handling Extroverts. Whether it be in casual or formal conversations, if you’re not aware of your own actions or that of others in such environments it can be hard to react both appropriately and professionally. This does not just apply to the working environment though but also in social situations.
Before I began to study a little more into the ‘versions and gain some self awareness, I found that I can react in two different ways to a highly extroverted person or in a extrovert led environment.
1) I caved into myself and allowed the louder individuals the floor, letting them exert the pressure of their energy into the room.
And 2) I try to ‘play up’ to them and fight to reach their level of loudness and impact.
The first made me feel unnecessary and weak, the latter was exhausting and fake. Neither are effective.
Hopefully you’ve had some self reflections after my previous blog post on Introversion Self Awareness, so I thought I’d explore what we can be aware of from an extrovert as an introvert, and how we can better react and respond to them. (Of course everyone is different so this may vary but I’m writing upon my own experiences!) So how can you better engage with extroverts? Here’s a few challenges I’ve faced and a little run through of What they may do, Why they do it and How you can react.
What: They like to talk. Why: Speaking out loud will often help an extrovert engage with their own creativity. How: Listening and observing is most likely a natural skill for you- use it!
What: They want a reaction. Why: Whereas an introvert will process quietly (which can sometimes come across as uninterested) an extrovert may need a straight forward response that shows your engagement. How: Vocally react to their ideas and opinions.
What: They can overlook the smaller details. Why: Introverts often question everything while intaking various information, the extroverted mind though can skip important details. How: Ask questions on the smaller details of their plans or ideas, this will allow involvement from your part and show them that you’re interested without being overbearing.
What: They may repeat themselves.Why: As observers, introverts tend to remember small details due to our way of intaking data and processing our long term memory. Extroverts may forget smaller details. How: Don’t be offended and remember that it isn’t because they don’t care but their Short Term memory can often take the front seat and minor details are not logged. Let them know that you remember what it is they’re telling you, they’ll appreciate that you’ve taken in their words.
What: They may be fast paced. Why: Extroverts tend to vocalise their thoughts as and when they come and the more they care about the subject being discussed the faster they will go. How: Understand where their energy is coming from and get in board! It might leave you feeling a little exhausted but a change of pace can be healthy. BUT If they need a reminder to take a step back don’t be scared to voice it!
The next time you’re in a meeting or discussion with someone new, see if you can spot these characteristics and have a go at reacting to them that wont be uncomfortable for you and will held you build relationships and hopefully hold better conversations.
More of my Introversion 101 series:
- My Disappearing Act
- Introversion 101: Don’t Forget Why You’re Great
- Introversion 101: Self Awareness
- Introversion 101: Child Introverts
If there’s anything you’d like to see in this series or on any other topic I’ve touched on please let me know, thanks for reading!
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