Ever found yourself not able to get a word in edge ways in conversations? Or notice others not realising beyond their own bubble that the quiet ones (i.e. you) may actually have something to say.
Often times I find myself at both family events and in business meetings, bigger personalities shroud out an introverts chance of speaking their opinion or ideas. I’ve since moved on from finding myself in these situations through the use of mindset, strategies and simple discussions with others, but I’ve definitely had my decent dose of being told to speak up or to just interject. However I know it really isn’t that easy, especially at the risk of being shot down by that Mr/Mrs/Miss Big Personality.
This uncomfortable interjections can also occur in another way as well, this time in reverse. I was once given massive news and then I was pushed to state my opinion immediately after. I was so taken aback (by the news) that I knew that any possible answer in that moment would not be a true indication of my opinion.
So there is a fine line. It seems to be all or nothing but we, both introverts, extroverts, omniverts alike, really do need to find a happy medium and be empathetic enough to realise when to push which way.
Here are some tips that helped me in both situations:
- Prep before the meeting – this is the biggest and helps you to be more confident in voicing up.
- Actually letting people know when they are overbearing in discussions. Even if this is after the meeting, it seems to help in future meetings and how they hold discussions with their peers.
- When pushed for an opinion, let the questioner know you do need time. Also give them a specific time period of when you’ll get back to them. Though no explanation should be necessary, if you want to add that by going away, a more informed opinion or decision can be reached – then no harm no foul.
- If you’re the one leading a meeting, ensure you ask at the end for any other thoughts, opinions, or questions needed. Embrace your introverted friends and be open for discussions after the meeting as well. Or even ask afterwards whether those that were on the quieter side, have anything else to add.
- Find a friend, colleague or sibling who can help you fight your battle. This one I would only use when you really find it difficult to speak up or feel you wouldn’t be listened to. Knowing you have someone else who can back you up often gives you the confidence to contribute as well.
I really just want more awareness of those that seem quiet, pensive or shy. They more often than not do have something to say, and just want to be asked their opinion (not forced to have or state one though).