HomePublic SpeakingLean Into Your Strengths to Succeed as a Communicator

Lean Into Your Strengths to Succeed as a Communicator

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

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

Susan Cain’s now-famous 2012 TED Discuss, “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 had been each bit as invaluable within the enterprise world because the extroverts who usually gained extra consideration.

Clearly, her analysis and insights struck a nerve.

Relying on the analysis you take 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 prompted introverts to be misunderstood, neglected, 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 listener, a quiet deep thinker, and somebody who places the deal with others simply hadn’t, till lately, commanded the identical consideration or price.  

However then, an attention-grabbing factor occurred over the course of the final two-plus years, as we had been all pressured to depart the workplace and work with one another just about.  Those self same traits that outline introverts turned simply what the office wanted.

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

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

1. Self-sufficiency – Introverts are likely to desire working independently, in order that they’ll sometimes work exhausting at downside fixing earlier than involving anybody else. They’re accustomed to self-reliance and counting on their very own information and expertise to achieve a aim.  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, in order 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 nicely within the connections they make with people.

6. Resilience – I really like the best way Buckley describes this “superpower”:  “Introverts grew up in a world that promoted and applauded extroverted traits … Introverts be taught to dwell 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 seen within the office.  And possibly simply as essential, how introverts themselves can higher admire what they’ve to supply, and the best way to use their strengths.

Let’s take a better take a look at a number of of the latest modifications sparked by working just about and the way, should you’re an introvert, you need to use the alternatives—and your innate traits—to develop as a communicator, presenter, or public speaker.
The Listener’s Probability to Shine

I really 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 lady 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 excellent salesperson in my group: in a position to management a room, lots of power and charisma, assured, blah, blah, blah. And it fully flipped in the course of the pandemic.’ 


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


Truthfully, the very best communicators are empathetic listeners.  So, should you’re an introvert, embrace and develop the listening expertise that come so naturally to you. They are going to serve you nicely whether or not you’re making a presentation, talking in public, or simply speaking with coworkers.
The Quiet Thinker’s Probability to Contribute

I bear in mind studying as soon as that extroverts “speak so as to assume,” whereas introverts “assume so as to speak.”  It rings true for me. When you take a look at any studied definition of introversion, phrases like “deep thinker,” “reflective,” and “introspective” are talked about.  

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

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

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


Extroverts usually misread this silence as disagreement, disengagement, or lack of subject-matter experience, and sometimes don’t take some time to deliver 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 might get demoralized and fully disengage due to their incapability to contribute.”

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

Buelow says introverts are much less more likely to undergo via fixed interruptions or being talked over in digital conferences. “The etiquette of the platform is totally different. You’re way more conscious of should you’re interrupting or speaking on prime of somebody.” She provides that just about, “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 possibly can ship.” 

When you’re an introvert, reap the benefits of the advantages of digital conferences.  And whether or not you’re attending one just about or in particular person, 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. When you want time to think about the subject earlier than participating in a dialogue, this can be a essential step. 

Write down one query you’d prefer to have answered or a degree you’d prefer to introduce on a sticky observe, and put it in your laptop computer or pc display screen. That approach, you gained’t miss a beat when the time is correct to chime in. 

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

Rehearse introducing your self. Not simply your title and title, however your particular curiosity within the assembly’s subject or aim and what you possibly can contribute. Lots of people don’t understand 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 challenge being mentioned that you just really feel you want (alone) time to consider, say so.  Bear in mind, one among your key strengths is deep, analytical reflection.  Merely say one thing like, “I believe this query deserves additional thought. I’d prefer to get again to you as soon as I’ve had an opportunity to think about the choices.”

The Public Speaker’s Probability … 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 anxiousness.  Introversion is a approach of responding to social stimulation.  Introverts want quiet, alone time to recharge after lots of people contact; whereas extroverts “recharge” by being within the heart of social stimulation.

I’m an introvert, and I really like public talking.  However I’ve positively seen how myths about what it takes to be public speaker could 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 public speaker, it’s essential to have an enormous, theatrical character, a hilarious comedic supply, and dance throughout your stage.

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

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I can let you know no doubt that the single-most essential trait for being public speaker—particularly in a enterprise setting—is to be audience-centric.  When you 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 presentation or speak.

When you’re an introvert, your pure propensity to place the deal with others units you as much as be audience-centric.  To not point out the truth that should you undertake a service perspective to presenting and public talking, you’re much less more likely to focus by yourself nerves.

And right here’s an attention-grabbing factor:  Whereas it’s true that introverts sometimes would quite collect with just a few 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 often stumble into being nice public audio system.  

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


“Now the truth is, a few of our most transformative leaders in historical past have been introverts. I’ll offer you some examples.  Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks, Gandhi—all these individuals described themselves as quiet, soft-spoken, and even shy.  They usually 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 had been on the helm, not as a result of they loved directing others, and never out of the pleasure of being checked out.  They had been there as a result of they’d no alternative, as a result of they had been pushed to do what they thought was proper.”

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

Closing Ideas …

The modifications we’re starting to see within the office for introverts because of digital work are nice, however among 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.

When you 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 guide, and writer Marcus Buckingham …

Put money into Your Strengths


You’ll most likely 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 essential—in conferences, when making displays, and when talking in public.  If we might help you in your journey, we’re right here.

Concerning the Creator

Carrie Beckstrom

Chief Govt Officer, PowerSpeaking, Inc.

CEO Carrie Beckstrom and the PowerSpeaking crew are keen about serving to organizations—at firms like Genentech, eBay, Autodesk, and Gilead Sciences—develop highly effective communication expertise that encourage individuals and get outcomes.
Previous to becoming a member of PowerSpeaking, Carrie loved greater than 30 years’ expertise within the studying and improvement trade, the place she led groups that made Coaching Journal’s “Coaching High 125” 10 years in a row. Then, as now, she believes that “Our goal is to make nice individuals even better at what they do every single day.”



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