Blog: The chatterbox and the wallflower

That one quiet collegue... I don't understand him! Why doesn't he speak up in meetings, I know he has good ideas!

Years ago, I asked colleague Reinoud what was going on. He mentioned the difference between introversion and extraversion.....  and it opened up a whole new world to me!

I am a typical extravert, I think by talking to people, and am energized by communication. He is a typical introvert, he thinks in silence and is energized by being alone. This has serious implications for our behaviour in meetings, since I am always looking for interaction and get a buzz from spontaneous brainstorms. He prefers to observe, to think before he talks, and needs silence to recharge. 

Since learning about these vital differences, I have changed the way I moderate and teach. As much as I love action, I will always acknowledge the role of silence, preparation, think-time in group discussions. 

It is a real shame that so many good conversational avenues might remain unexplored, simply because introverts do not get enough opportunities to contribute. That one great key idea can make a huge difference when deciding on strategy or analysing a problem, and it would be a shame if that idea is not uttered in the discussion. 

Reinoud and myself developed a workshop to clarify the differences between 'Innies' and 'Extras', including tips and tricks to get all ideas from a group into the group discussion. Interested? Contact me for possibilities in your company! 

Want to learn more about introversion? This comic by Roman Jones has helped me a lot: CLICK HERE!

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