America is an extroverted country, and it is expected to attend parties. Parties are not the best way introverts can think of to spend their time, but social pressure can get the best of us at times. So, introverts will agree to go to a party, or even schedule a party at their house, then cancel at the last minute. This gives the introvert a bit of guilt, but a great deal of relief at the same time. Now they do not have to worry about what they are going to say or what to do after the first five minutes of the party.
Being a professional life coach and introvert, I have learned from my own past social mistakes. There have been many times I have cancelled at the last minute, or not shown up to a party. And I know I am not the only one, I have coached several introverts who initially felt guilty about the same thing. But every time I help them track the event to its beginning, it has been an extrovert that has pressured them into attending in the first place. It is common for introverts to not want to hurt their friend’s feelings, but it will hurt them less to say no right away than cancelling at the last minute.
So the next time you are invited to a party, ask important questions like “is there a goal or is it socializing without a purpose?” And don’t fall for extroverty stuff like “it’ll be fun!” or “it won’t be the same without you!” Yes, it will be the same without you. Be polite to your extrovert friend when you decline their invitation. And it’s totally acceptable to tell them “thank you for inviting me, but I feel like introverting tonight.” As an added bonus, they will have NO idea how to react to that.
Feel like nobody listens to what you say? There are three actions you can use to be taken seriously.
- Take others seriously (meaning: Listen). We tend to talk more when it seems like other people don’t take us seriously, spending more time explaining what we mean by what we say. One way to be taken seriously is to listen intently about what the other person is saying.
- Talk less. I had a client who admitted that she felt like she talked a mile a minute but never seemed to be saying anything important. Through coaching, she learned to say a lot less and get to the point quicker. By talking less, she felt she was being heard more by others.
- Pick a topic and stick to it. Don’t talk about four or five different topics at the same time. What may make sense to you could be very confusing to others, so stick to one topic at a time.
Combine all three of these together to become a conversationalist that people will listen to. Listen to what others are saying then respond specifically to what they are talking about. Stick to that subject, and try to stay on point with fewer words.
Opposites attract, and that is proven when an introvert and an extrovert get together. Introverts and extroverts in a relationship have the opportunity to discuss how they relax, or recharge. Extroverts love to be in groups of people, happily talking about nothing in particular. That is how extroverts recharge their batteries. The batteries of an introvert, however, will drain very quickly in the same situation. Introverts need time alone to recharge their batteries.
Time alone for an introverted parent, especially when young children are involved, is very important. Let’s say there is a family with one extrovert parent and one introvert parent, which is pretty common. The extrovert parent may come home to loud, rambunctious children and fondly imagine having some alone time for a bit. The introvert parent, however, may desperately need it to stave off insanity.
Communication is important. Introverts incorrectly assume that everyone knows they need to be alone at times. And extroverts sometimes don’t understand how important it is for introverts to have alone time. Introverts need uninterrupted alone time every day, and that can be difficult when young children are involved.
If this sounds like you, carve out some alone time. Then, when your batteries are recharged, have a conversation with your partner. Find out what they need for alone time or social time with you and friends. And discuss with them how you need alone time. Find a compromise. Remember, you are in this together.
The elevator pitch is important in today’s business settings; it is a way to tell people what you do without spending a half hour doing it.
“I help people create their amazing tomorrow.” There are many different ways to create an elevator pitch, and everyone has a different slant on how to do it. Personally, I like the elevator pitch that makes the listener want to ask questions. I could say that I am a business, career, and life coach, but coaching is still one of those professions that seem ambiguous. The elevator pitch should say exactly what you do in as few words as possible. A humorous pitch, if done right, works also. A local drain cleaning company has the pitch: “I get the **** out of your life.” Be careful with humor, however, it can backfire. Spend time creating the right elevator pitch. I would say it can be up to 60 seconds, but 30 would be ideal. You should include your business name at the end and have a business card ready to hand to the listener.
Developing an elevator pitch is extremely important for introverts.
We tend to get flustered when we do not have a reply ready to go (extroverts, ever ask a person what should be an easy question, but you get that “deer in the headlights” look back?). Developing your elevator pitch will not only give you something to say, it will help you be more comfortable in networking settings.
Large meeting are a great way to get noticed, in both good and bad ways.
There may be the easy going extrovert, happily pumping hands and making connections. The extrovert will be leaning forward in his chair, ready for an exchange of ideas to take place. Then there may be the introvert, backed against a wall, afraid someone will talk to them because they have no idea what they will say back. When the meeting actually starts, which usually takes a year or two, the introvert will sink into his chair, hoping he won’t be called upon. Too much external stimulation makes introverts shut down, but there are things that can be done when a quiet person needs to get his voice heard.
Try to get ahold of the meeting schedule beforehand. Or, send an email to the person who scheduled the meeting to see if you can get an idea of the topics that will be covered. As an introvert, you can use that information to plan ahead what you will talk about. And, since introverts process internally, this will give you time to come up with good ideas. The added benefit is that you will also feel (a bit) more comfortable during the meeting.
And keep a lookout for the #leadershipforintrovertsbook due out soon! Keep updated at www.leadershipintroverts.com.
There is one thing you should know about yourself before you get into a relationship with another person: Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
This question is vitally important because, depending on the answer, it can make or break the relationship. Introverts process internally, and they need time to themselves throughout the day. Social settings tend to drain their energy. Extroverts process externally, often talking out what they think about. Alone time can be boring and energy draining, and they love being in crowds.
It does not matter whether your potential partner is the same as you; what matters is that you recognize which they are and which you are. Two introverts (or extroverts) can live a great life together. However, if you are an introvert, like me, and you happen to hit it off with an extrovert, like I did with my wife, life will take you down a wondrous journey. But the one thing that has kept our marriage together is understanding, and complimenting, the differences between us.
Interesting conversation starters to alleviate small talk for Introverts
Small talk is the bane of introverts, and a skill that is a must have in social situations. Having conversation starters can mean the difference between that awkward silence that is only penetrated when someone joins in, or the two people just move on to different groups. That makes it difficult for a chance to find common interests so the two of you can start to engage in a meaningful dialog. The weather is usually not a good topic because it will not last long, unless you are talking about a storm. And, that may not be a good idea. Find uplifting conversation. See if you can (tastefully) compliment an article of clothing. Or inquire about family, but only if you are genuinely interested. Most people can spot when you are not being genuine, so find things that you really want to know about. One way to cheat, if you know beforehand that certain people will be at the event, is to check out their social media pages and see if you can find a common interest.
Contact me if you would like help being more social.
– Dr. Ty, Professional Life Coach