According to the Kellogg School of Management, in a typical large meeting, only three people do 70% of the talking. This means that a LOT of good ideas never see the light of day.
Are you one of the other 30%?
If so: believe me, I get and respect your wish to stay on the quiet side — and it’s important to honor your own nature.
At the same time: the world needs you, and it needs your unique insights.
So, here are three strategies to help you speak more often, and more confidently — while also preserving your right to be you.
1. Prepare what you want to say – points to make, questions to raise – in advance.
Who cares if everyone else seems to be contributing spontaneously? If you’re the type of person who thinks of what she wanted to say only AFTER the meeting is over, then a little advance prep can go a long way. You can also jot down some bullet points beforehand, if you’ll feel more comfortable with notes you can glance at while you’re talking.
2. Speak up early.
I know this may not come naturally to you. But the ideas that get advanced early tend to become “anchor ideas” in a given discussion. And the people who advance them become “anchor people” – that is, others start directing their attention, eye contact, and emotional energy to them. This can create a virtual cycle in which you feel more empowered and encouraged to share further. So, try giving yourself a nudge to be one of the first people to speak up. And see if you like how it feels. (Many people have told me that this one trick was transformative for them.)
3. Use a quota system.
Decide how often you want to speak in a given meeting – once, twice, three times? Once you’ve met your goal, you can keep quiet the rest of the time, if you’d like. Make it a fun, private game with yourself. (And maybe the next time, as part of the game, you’ll decide to increase your quota.)
Three simple strategies. Please try them (or share with someone else). And please let me know if they help as much as I expect!
P.S. Do you know someone who prizes quiet over hubbub, depth over superficiality, and sensitivity over cool? If so, please forward this Kindred newsletter! It’s meant for them!
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At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over working in teams. It is to introverts—Rosa Parks, Chopin, Dr. Seuss, Steve Wozniak—that we owe many of the great contributions to society.
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