When speaking to an introvert in the workplace and they respond to your questions with curt, quiet, one-word answers, you may find it rude. Why did they only respond with one word? Did I offend them? The answer is most likely no. They may be shy or introverted. They are not sure how to keep a conversation going with someone they are not familiar with, or they take their time to think about a response. Introverted people generally have reserved personalities that blossom when you get to know them. Most introverts do not talk unless they have something to say. This does not mean they are all shy people, but it does mean they choose their words wisely.
Bill Gates is a prime example of a famous introvert. He is not a man of many words, but when he does speak, he is worth listening to. Mr. Gates has many famous quotes that portray how astute this introvert is. Mr. Gates stated,”Life is not divided into semesters. You don’t get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you find yourself.”
Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen Inspired These 9 Tips to Effectively Converse with Introverts
1. Be comfortable with a slower conversation pace.
2. Converse one-on-one instead of a group setting.
3. Sometimes written communication (e.g. email) may be the most effective.
4. Learn to interpret non-verbal communication and use it yourself.
5. Smile and be pleasant.
6. Ask open-ended questions to aid in conversation continuity.
7. Encourage them to talk by showing appreciation when they do.
8. Repeat what they say and summarize it back to them.
9. Engage in eye contact whenever they are speaking.
Introverts are driven to succeed in a different way than extroverts. It is best to think quality over quantity. Introverts take their time to come up with excellent work or answers, instead of quickly piling a large amount together at once. According to Lisa Petrilli, “Introverts get the energy to succeed differently than you do.” They think without voicing their thoughts. When they decide to share their ideas, it would be wise to listen. Introverts can be team players or self-starters. They do not, however, enjoy being put on the spot or being in the spotlight. They enjoy working behind the scenes.
While allowing introverts to pace their opinions, you can think of your next open-ended question to keep the conversation flowing smoothly. Patience is key for the extroverts leading the conversation. These hints and tips should allow more extroverted individuals to communicate efficiently with their introverted counterparts.