Up to half of people (by their own accord) are introverts. A keynote speaker at a recent convention suggested that being less socially expressive means you may be misinterpreted as withdrawn or cranky. She went on to assume introverts have less refined interpersonal skills. I disagree.
Cranky? Hmm, not sure. Introverts do tend to get fed up and feel drained by having to be around other people. I see this when I am a guest speaker at a convention. Introverts may shy away from conversation. Less refined interpersonal skills? I don't think so. In fact they may be more refined, they just speak up less often, so their thoughts are more thought out.
How Introverts Communicate - Shy and Quiet?
In The Introvert Advantage, author guest speaker Dr. Laney says that introverts tend to:
- Keep energy, enthusiasm and excitement to themselves. Introverts hesitate before sharing personal information.
- Need time to think before they respond. Introverts need time to reflect before reacting.
- Prefer communicating one to one. People with introverted personality traits don’t like parties and groups as much as extroverts do.
- May occasionally think they told you something they didn’t, because they’re “always going over things in their head.”
- Need to be invited to speak or be drawn out. Introverts tend to prefer written over verbal communication.
what should Introverts do to Refine their Interpersonal Communication Skills?
- Focus on your Strengths - Having an inward focus means you are thoughtful and contemplative. You balance the jabber mouth, over eager to speak up personalities (motivational keynote speakers maybe). Focus on what make you unique; your strengths are your ability and likelihood to think things through before speaking. Remember when you speak, people will listen because they know your nature. Do not feel you have to speak up, just make sure your voice is heard when it is important to you.
- Control your Environment - If you prefer to be alone, adjust your environment to avoid large scale meetings or interruptions. Meet with people one on one or over the phone, or email if it does not take away from your goal. If you attend a convention, go with another introvert because they won't need to speak as often and drain you as much. A winger can also help fend off unwanted conversation. If you spend a lot of time around people, recharge by finding some down time alone.
- Be Confident - Try visualizing yourself communicating openly and confidently in uncomfortable situations with lots of people. Imagine yourself gliding gracefully across the room, reaching out your hand and embracing a confident handshake while initiating conversation. Visualizing is the quickest way to success, confidence and exceptional interpersonal skills. As a keynote guest speaker, I always visualize the convention before I speak to help me feel prepared for the event.
- Success requires other people, so don't shy away from all contact. Communication is a key interpersonal skills. If extroverts like to talk, than just be a good listener and you will probably be considered one of the best communicators they know