The most frustrating about office meetings is when they go nowhere and I feel like wasting my time. However, as an introvert, it is a challenge for me to contribute and steer the meeting in the direction I would have liked.
An interesting article explains why introverts have more difficulties to express themselves at work meetings. The reason is that they need more time to process the information than extroverts.
And have you noticed that men tend to speak more during the meetings than women? God knows why!
I had plenty of meetings during which I decided to sleep and survive till the end. However in some cases, especially when I was interested in the outcome, I focused on four things so that I felt more comfortable and ready to speak.
1. Taking Time to Prepare Upfront
Ultimately, the most important time was the time before the meeting. Spending enough time to prepare for the meeting, clarify my thoughts and generate few ideas, helped me to react faster at the meetings. Sometimes 5-10 minutes was enough, sometimes it took longer.
2. Knowing My Objectives
As a woman, I had a need to find a consensus at the meeting, but I got often lost in what the others wanted. I found helpful to think upfront what I really wanted to gain from the meeting: for myself, for my project, for having the outcome I wished. Then it was easier to incorporate my objectives in the other people`s ideas and thoughts.
3. Noting Down Key Points During the Meeting
As people talked, I was noting down key points and also my comments, ideas, opinions. The game was to be ready to react at any moment.
4. Giving Credit to the Authors of Good Ideas
If someone else had an idea I liked, I highlighted this person’s idea while giving credit to its author. It had three benefits: more weight to a good idea, I could add my own thoughts and I often gained a supporter for my own ideas. Check this article to learn how women in the White House use amplification technique to be heard.
There are plenty of techniques and advice that can help introverted women feel more comfortable speaking at office meetings. The best approach is that each woman develops her own technique that suits her values and personality.