Meetings always favor extroverts. An extroverted employee has no trouble speaking even if their contribution does not move a conversation forward. Introverts need time, and they will never talk just to be speaking. It is a frustrating situation both for the introverted employee and for the leader of the meeting. However, there are ways to help your introverted colleagues speak up in meetings.
Why Introverts Don’t Speak up During Meetings
What stops an introvert from speaking up during your meetings? The employee may feel as though they have nothing to say that will add value to the conversation, or they may be afraid of saying the wrong thing. If they speak too much, they may get the feeling that they are dominating the meeting. Your introverted colleague may be waiting for a period of silence to talk because they feel it is rude to interrupt people.
How to Encourage an Introvert to Speak up in Your Next Meeting
An introverted employee can contribute to your organization. Their opinions are as valuable as any other employee. So, as an HR professional, how to encourage these quiet employees to speak up?
Provide a clear meeting agenda several days ahead of the meeting. An introvert needs time to process information. These employees are at a disadvantage in meetings as they do not have enough time to gather their thoughts. The key is to send a clear meeting agenda in advance of the meeting. By doing this, you will provide the introverted employee the advantage of knowing what to expect while giving them time to formulate something to contribute to the meeting.
Urge introverted employees to speak up at the beginning of the meeting. Allow all employees to speak at the check-in of the meeting. If an introverted employee speaks up at the start of a meeting, they are much more likely to speak up during the duration of the meeting.
Be encouraging. It is crucial to encourage your introverted colleagues so they will contribute. Body language is essential. Always smile, sit forward, and nod. Follow up with positive reinforcement and encourage other employees to follow suit.
Consider allowing introverts to provide written answers during meetings. Many introverts prefer written communication over verbal communication. Provide them this opportunity to give their feedback.
Do not put an introvert on the spot. The check-in time allows an introvert to provide a short one-word answer which they can handle. Try to avoid asking them a question on the fly without giving them time to prepare a response.
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