A common theme that we hear time and time again is that extroverts have absolutely no problem communicating with others because talking and interacting is what they are best at [raise your hand if you are an extrovert and have heard this so often that you’ve rolled your eyes out of your head!].
But really, this a stereotypical notion that must be destroyed. Communicating meaningfully is a talent. And not everyone is blessed with it (be they extroverts or introverts!)
Continuing where we left off from the first article which focused on tips for introverts to communicate effectively in the workplace, in this article I’m going to discuss tips for extroverts on how to communicate better.
How can you communicate better as an extrovert?
Engage in active listening when communicating with a person. Temper the urge to disrupt a conversation. It is possible to communicate your engagement in a conversation through silence. When you nod, look thoughtful and look attentive, you are letting the speaker know that you are present and active in the conversation. Always wait for someone to finish what they are saying before offer your own opinion.
Do your best not to dominate the conversation
Communication works when everyone involved in a conversation is able to contribute. A conversation where only one person is talking and the rest are listening is a speech. You might have a lot of ideas to contribute but restraint is something that must be practiced. Here’s a tactic to ensure that you do not dominate conversations. In a group conversation, share a new idea or observation only if everybody else in the group has spoken up. Or share an observation and then invite a person who has not spoken up as yet to contribute. That way, you get to contribute, but not at the expense of someone else.
Your idea of communication is not everyone’s idea of communication
You might really enjoy meetings. Others might prefer the quickness of email. Refrain from making the assumption that your kind of communication is everyone’s kind of communication. Sometimes meetings must be had. Sometimes information must be communicated over email to save time. Sometimes meetings must be had through conference calls. Communication can happen everywhere. You just have to be flexible about how it happens.
Be mindful of what you have to say
Less is more. While introverts need to contribute more, extroverts need to be more mindful of what they are adding to the conversation. Silences are okay and you don’t have to fill in every space with words. Some extroverts might feel added pressure to contribute, if the group falls into a lull, but in all honesty, the onus is not only on you to keep the conversation going. Remember, it takes two.
Invite others to participate in the conversation
This is one of the kindest things you can do. Quite a few introverts struggle to speak up during meetings or conversations. If you notice that someone wants to say something but is unable to do so, throw them a line. Invite them to share their opinion or contribute to the conversation. This way, not only are you building a little goodwill, but you are also helping others communicate.
Seek the help you need
Some introverts do not share easily because they are anxious about how they opinions will be received. On the other hand, some extroverts might share too much because they are anxious about the fact that if they do not contribute enough, then their worth and value will be questioned. If you are responsive and engaging person in general, then there’s pressure to continue being the same way, even when you don’t feel like. The strain of maintaining an appearance is a very real problem that some extroverts face. Here’s the most important thing to remember. The onus of maintaining a conversation is not always on you. And neither should you always have to be the life and soul of every event. It’s okay to take a backseat once in awhile and when your colleagues question you, it is completely alright to say, “Actually, I’m feeling a little exhausted/not interested/stressed and don’t think I can contribute to my full potential”. At times like these, it’s okay to ask for help. Be it from colleagues or from a therapist.
Regardless of where you fall on the extroversion/introversion scale (maybe you fall right in the middle and are an ambivert), we can all work towards improving our communication skills. After all, communication is the one big cog that keeps a workplace running.
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