An Introvert’s Guide To Participating In Business Meetings

Introverted analysts don’t always find it easy to speak up at meetings. Introverts are a special group of people who need sufficient time to make sense of a situation, reflect and analyze information. They need to process information before taking a position on issues. Business meetings can seem chaotic to them with different people going off in different directions and throwing up suggestions that don’t seem well thought out. Where there’s disorder and no clarity in what is being discussed, you can expect the typical introvert not to contribute much.

If you are an introvert or just struggling to contribute at meetings, these quick tips can help you improve:

1.    Understand what the meeting is about - Reflect on the agenda way before the meeting and jot down your opinions so that you can prepare to contribute to the meeting. The more information you have before the meeting, the better you will be able to contribute. No one wants to contribute to what they have no knowledge of. Doing so could very easily turn out to be embarrassing.

2.   Believe in your heart that you are a valued member of the meeting and the organization - Why else would you have been invited? You were considered a good candidate for the job, that’s why you were hired. Be confident.

3.   Ask Questions -  Something isn’t clear? Ask the question but not too often or it may become distracting to others.

4.   Speak early so you can relax quickly and get over any feelings of inadequacy that may come from not contributing

5.    Learn to use catchy phrases that are not confrontational. For example, expressions like,  “Let’s look at this from a different angle”, “I agree to some extent but I doubt we can…” can help set the tone for your contribution.

6.   Summarize action points: If you need some more time to develop your ideas, you can still contribute by summarizing the action points.

Meeting facilitators or organizers have the important role of ensuring everyone’s opinion is respected and heard. This is why organizers need to understand the role of both introverts and extroverts in meetings to get the most out of engagements.