Lean Into Your Strengths to Succeed as a Communicator






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“The true energy comes from a place of satisfaction … in who you’re.  When you could have that, you grow to be more practical in job interviews, displaying up at conferences, and talking up.” 

 — on embracing your introversion, by Susan Cain, creator of “QUIET: The Energy of Introverts in a World That Can’t Cease Speaking”

Susan Cain’s now-famous 2012 TED Speak, “The Energy of Introverts,”  is among the most-watched TEDs of all time (even Invoice Gates cited it as one among his favorites).  In it, she did a masterful job of articulating how introverts have been each bit as beneficial within the enterprise world because the extroverts who typically gained extra consideration.

Clearly, her analysis and insights struck a nerve.

Relying on the analysis you have a look at, someplace between 30 to 50% of all individuals within the office are introverts.  

And but, acutely aware and unconscious biases that favor extroverts have lengthy brought on introverts to be misunderstood, missed, and devalued.  Branding skilled and lecturer on introverts at work Richard Etienne put it bluntly:  “The office was created by extroverts, for extroverts.” (Supply: BBC Worklife)

In a office outlined by extroverts, the introvert’s traditional traits of being an excellent listener, a quiet deep thinker, and somebody who places the give attention to others simply hadn’t, till not too long ago, commanded the identical consideration or value.  

However then, an fascinating factor occurred over the course of the final two-plus years, as we have been all compelled to go away the workplace and work with one another nearly.  Those self same traits that outline introverts grew to become simply what the office wanted.

“Whereas extroverts are celebrated for being outgoing, action-oriented and enthusiastic, introverts carry analytical thought and empathy,” Etienne says.  “Through the pandemic, these expertise instantly grew to become extremely wanted  … They’re good at deep thought and forming private connection.  That was actually essential throughout the interval when corporations have been attempting to carry onto purchasers.”

In a 2021 article in Entrepreneur, cognitive habits coach Robin Buckley, PhD cited these                          “6 Missed Superpowers of Introverts within the Office”:

1. Self-sufficiency – Introverts are inclined to favor working independently, so that they’ll sometimes work arduous at drawback fixing earlier than involving anybody else. They’re accustomed to self-reliance and counting on their very own data and expertise to achieve a objective.  This implies they not often want extreme supervision.

2. Reflectiveness – Preferring to absorb info and assume earlier than speaking or performing, introverts are sometimes those to supply well-thought-out insights and options, in addition to alternate views.

3. Efficient social scientists – Introverts are listeners and observers, so that they pay shut consideration to verbal and nonverbal communication to realize a greater understanding of individuals or a scenario.

4. Connectedness – Introverts aren’t loopy about superficial dialog.  They need to have interaction with individuals on a extra significant degree, sometimes one-on-one or in small teams.  Their pure tendency to be good listeners permits them to understand different individuals’s views.

5. Self-awareness – As a result of they’re comfy being alone with their very own ideas, introverts are sometimes in contact with their very own emotions.  This serves them effectively within the connections they make with people.

6. Resilience – I like the best way Buckley describes this “superpower”:  “Introverts grew up in a world that promoted and applauded extroverted traits … Introverts be taught to stay in a world not geared for them and survive. They develop methods and coping mechanisms, which permit them to operate within the workforce, not often needing fixed reassurance or reward to maintain them motivated.”

Being an introvert myself and having managed introverts all through my profession, I’m fascinated—and heartened—to see the latest change in how introverts are considered within the office.  And perhaps simply as essential, how introverts themselves can higher respect what they’ve to supply, and easy methods to use their strengths.

Let’s take a more in-depth have a look at a number of of the latest modifications sparked by working nearly and the way, if you happen to’re an introvert, you should utilize the alternatives—and your innate traits—to develop as a communicator, presenter, or public speaker.
The Listener’s Likelihood to Shine

I like this instance of how the transfer to digital work modified individuals’s views about introverts.  It’s relayed by Patty McCord, former head of HR at Netflix, in the identical Worklife article …

“I talked to a girl who’s the VP of Gross sales at a Fortune 100 firm. She’s hard-driving, charismatic. And he or she mentioned,


‘The craziest factor occurred. I had a matrix of expertise for what made an awesome salesperson in my group: in a position to management a room, loads of vitality and charisma, assured, blah, blah, blah. And it fully flipped throughout the pandemic.’ 


She mentioned that her finest salespeople have been those she had been actually about to fireside: the quiet ones who would simply get on a name with a consumer and hear. Now she’s rethinking the entire workforce.”


Truthfully, the perfect communicators are empathetic listeners.  So, if you happen to’re an introvert, embrace and develop the listening expertise that come so naturally to you. They’ll serve you effectively whether or not you’re making a presentation, talking in public, or simply speaking with coworkers.
The Quiet Thinker’s Likelihood to Contribute

I bear in mind studying as soon as that extroverts “speak with the intention to assume,” whereas introverts “assume with the intention to speak.”  It rings true for me. For those who have a look at any studied definition of introversion, phrases like “deep thinker,” “reflective,” and “introspective” are talked about.  

Introverts do their finest considering (and by extension, contributing) after they have the time and “house” to course of info and develop a thought-about response.  They’re extra apt to attend till they really feel they’ve one thing significant to say.

Sadly, these traits aren’t often valued in an extrovert-centric, workplace surroundings.  Right here’s a traditional state of affairs illustrating the distinction between extroverts and introverts in in-person conferences, from a Harvard Enterprise Assessment article … 

“A program supervisor calls a gathering to assume via a resourcing difficulty . . . Extroverted thinkers are glad to get new info in a gathering and to start out making sense of it by speaking via it. However introverted thinkers make their finest contributions after they’ve had time to course of related knowledge and house to decide on phrases rigorously and share considerate conclusions. So whereas the extroverted thinkers are buzzing away, the introverted thinkers are quiet, nonetheless processing the knowledge. 


Extroverts typically misread this silence as disagreement, disengagement, or lack of subject-matter experience, and infrequently don’t take some time to carry the introverts into the dialog. The assembly ends, individuals scatter to their subsequent assembly, and the chance to assume the issue via collectively has been misplaced. Over time, the introverts could get demoralized and fully disengage due to their incapacity to contribute.”

However these assembly dynamics are starting to alter with the change to digital work.

Buelow says introverts are much less prone to endure via fixed interruptions or being talked over in digital conferences. “The etiquette of the platform is totally different. You’re way more conscious of if you happen to’re interrupting or speaking on high of somebody.” She provides that nearly, “there are extra instruments at your disposal to contribute to the dialog. It’s not simply whoever can get a phrase in edgewise; there’s the chat, ‘elevating your hand’, reactions you may ship.” 

For those who’re an introvert, make the most of the advantages of digital conferences.  And whether or not you’re attending one nearly or in individual, use your pure tendencies to assume forward and put together, to make it simpler to contribute in actual time.  Listed here are some concepts …

Learn the assembly agenda and put together your ideas forward of time. For those who want time to contemplate the subject earlier than partaking in a dialogue, it is a essential step. 

Write down one query you’d wish to have answered or some extent you’d wish to introduce on a sticky notice, and put it in your laptop computer or pc display. That method, you gained’t miss a beat when the time is true to chime in. 

Observe, out loud, what you need to say. Higher but, observe in entrance of a coworker or good friend and get their suggestions. 

Rehearse introducing your self. Not simply your identify and title, however your particular curiosity within the assembly’s matter or objective and what you may contribute. Lots of people don’t notice how a lot the standard of their introduction impacts their effectiveness within the assembly. 

Be assured about asking for considering time.  If there’s a query or difficulty being mentioned that you just really feel you want (alone) time to consider, say so.  Keep in mind, one among your key strengths is deep, analytical reflection.  Merely say one thing like, “I feel this query deserves additional thought. I’d wish to get again to you as soon as I’ve had an opportunity to contemplate the choices.”

The Public Speaker’s Likelihood … to Be Introverted

This can be a good time to make the essential level that being an introvert doesn’t essentially imply you’re shy. They’re two various things.  Shyness is a social nervousness.  Introversion is a method of responding to social stimulation.  Introverts want quiet, alone time to recharge after lots of people contact; whereas extroverts “recharge” by being within the middle of social stimulation.

I’m an introvert, and I like public talking.  However I’ve positively seen how myths about what it takes to be an excellent public speaker may cause introverts to concern the “stage”—whether or not it’s making a presentation at work or delivering a keynote at a convention.

Right here’s the parable:  To be an excellent public speaker, it’s good to have an enormous, theatrical character, a hilarious comedic supply, and dance throughout your stage.

Whereas theatrics, comedy, and dance strikes could be nice enjoyable and efficient generally, you don’t want any of them to be an efficient speaker.

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I can inform you undoubtedly that the single-most essential trait for being an excellent public speaker—particularly in a enterprise setting—is to be audience-centric.  For those who care as a lot about what they’d profit from listening to as what you need to say, you’ve taken the primary, essential step to delivering an excellent presentation or speak.

For those who’re an introvert, your pure propensity to place the give attention to others units you as much as be audience-centric.  To not point out the truth that if you happen to undertake a service perspective to presenting and public talking, you’re much less prone to focus by yourself nerves.

And right here’s an fascinating factor:  Whereas it’s true that introverts sometimes would slightly collect with a couple of individuals than attend an enormous celebration or mingle in an enormous crowd, in the event that they really feel deeply about one thing they need to talk, they generally stumble into being nice public audio system.  

In “The Energy of Introverts,” Cain held up a couple of examples of well-known introverts who ended up, due to their passions, being fervent and completed public audio system …


“Now actually, a few of our most transformative leaders in historical past have been introverts. I’ll provide you with some examples.  Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks, Gandhi—all these individuals described themselves as quiet, soft-spoken, and even shy.  And so they all took the highlight despite the fact that each bone of their our bodies was telling them to not.  And this seems to have a particular energy all its personal as a result of individuals may really feel that these leaders have been on the helm, not as a result of they loved directing others, and never out of the pleasure of being checked out.  They have been there as a result of that they had no alternative, as a result of they have been pushed to do what they thought was proper.”

So, if you’re referred to as upon to talk—both by others or by your ardour—belief that your strengths as an introvert could be the inspiration for achievement.

Closing Ideas …

The modifications we’re starting to see within the office for introverts because of digital work are nice, however a number of the extrovert-centric biases and dynamics talked about earlier do nonetheless exist.  Which is all of the extra motive for introverts to take the initiative to embrace and use their very own strengths—and for managers and leaders to help them in doing so.

For those who want an additional nudge to consider that the place to start out is along with your strengths, watch this temporary, evidence-based pep speak from researcher, management marketing consultant, and creator Marcus Buckingham …

Put money into Your Strengths


You’ll in all probability discover that remembering to lean into your strengths is an ongoing journey.  Alongside the best way, although, there are sensible issues you are able to do as an introvert that will help you grow to be extra profitable in conditions the place communication is vital—in conferences, when making displays, and when talking in public.  If we will help you in your journey, we’re right here.

In regards to the Creator

Carrie Beckstrom

Chief Govt Officer, PowerSpeaking, Inc.

Carrie is keen about main the PowerSpeaking, Inc. group in serving to organizations—at firms like Genentech, eBay, Autodesk, and Gilead Sciences—develop highly effective communication expertise that encourage individuals and get outcomes. “Our goal is to make nice individuals even larger at what they do daily. That features changing into efficient international communicators who construct optimistic relationships and drive enterprise ahead.”
Previous to becoming a member of PowerSpeaking, Carrie loved greater than 30 years’ expertise within the studying and improvement business, the place she led award-winning groups.

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