In a recent comment, Cary remarked, “what I’d really like to see is productivity/interaction tips aimed at extroverts. I get a little fed up with so much advice being aimed at introverts as if extroverts don’t have any behaviors that can hinder them.” This is a good point. I think the reason that so many articles address introversion is because North American culture is so rewarding of extraverted-type behaviors.
But just because one is extraverted does not mean that they have good social skills. Actually, extraversion can actually sometimes get in the way of social graces because extraverts tend to think out loud, sharing information faster than they are able to censor. With that in mind, here are some tips for using those natural talents and making up for the quick tongue.
Don’t interrupt; easier said than done, huh? Stop yourself and apologize as soon as you realize you’ve done it, even if you are mid-sentence. When you and another start talking at the same time, insist they share their thoughts first. Realize that every time you cut someone off, you are preventing the flow of new ideas.
Be a Boundary Spanner
Leverage your propensity to socialize into a career and organizational advantage. Establish relationships with colleagues outside of your department, function, geographical location, business sector, or industry. Things often come up in casual conversation that can help break down organizational silos or bring new life to stalled projects. Be generous with connecting people within your network.
- Listen. When others are talking, listen patiently, and pay attention to nonverbal and potential hidden meanings.
- Pause yourself. Ask if you have answered the question or check for understanding. Are people listening or simply being polite?
- Be concise. You may be long-winded with sharing experiences and giving examples. If you cannot keep it short, be sure to summarize.
- Ask for an opinion. It is likely that everyone is familiar with your stance on a subject. Allow others to share theirs.
- Create stimuli. If the office is too quiet, play some music to help you work. Use headphones to be considerate to nearby introverts.