Sunday, November 1, 2009

speaking up for introverts

Today's New York Times includes a column by Nancy Ancowitz, a former Wall Street marketing executive turned business coach, who describes how she learned about how to put her introverted personality to best advantage, particularly when speaking up in work settings: in meetings, in putting herself and her accomplishments forward, and in more effective use of one-on-one relationships. This should sound familiar if you're introverted, but called upon to speak or speak out in the workplace:

I learned that introverts prefer to think before they speak, while extroverts tend to think as they speak. I also learned what energizes introverts (solo activities) versus extroverts (social activities). While I’m not typically shy, or socially anxious, and I thoroughly enjoy people — in doses — I catch my breath during my quiet time.

For introverted speakers who want to use their type to advantage, she recommends:
What does that look like on Monday morning? They prepare well for meetings and negotiations; they’ve done their reflective thinking in advance. They also schedule down time in order to recharge. And they seek out allies as trusted sounding boards and champions who can help spread the word about their quiet strengths.
All those tips work just as well when the introverted speaker is giving a presentation or speech to a larger audience.

Related posts: Factor in your speaker personality type

How Lady Bird Johnson went from shy speaker to shining