Have you ever been taken off guard in a crowded boardroom meeting with an unexpected question shot in your direction and someone jumps in to answer on your behalf before you can catch your breath? Ouch, feel that hot seat burn. 

Or how about when chatting with clients, do you find yourself fighting to get a word in edgewise? Frustrating, isn’t it? After a press-the-flesh networking event, do you get back home and just want to crash? You were the gracious host, chatted with everyone, and now you’re utterly drained.

Well then, you just might be introverted. And that’s great news.

Here’s the flip side – if you’re extroverted, that’s great news too. 

There is no right or wrong personality type. Your workplace needs both introverts and extroverts. The mix creates balance, flexibility, and strength. The key is in understanding and genuinely appreciating both, as well as in building bridges between the two. Your way isn’t the only way or the “right” way — it may just be a different way from someone else’s. 

The introverts in your life have oodles of strengths you might not even know about. The interesting fact is that any of these traits can be useful or not, depending if they’re used productively or to an extreme. When the latter, this very strength may become a downfall, especially when communicating with extroverts. You may, unknowingly, be rubbing people the wrong way, just as they may be irritating you without intention.

It can be difficult, connecting with personalities that are so very different than yours. It’s that very difference that’s the catch. They get under your skin, make you want to scream and drive you crazy! Why can’t they just see the world the way you do? It would be so simple if only they would communicate like you.

REALITY CHECK: they’re not going to change, so if you want to build healthy relationships, you’ll want to be the one to budge.

Whether you consider yourself an introvert or extrovert, you likely deal with clients, colleagues, bosses and employees who rub you the wrong way.  Sometimes, it’s just because they’re truly bullies with no intention of connecting. More often, however, it’s simply because they communicate differently.

Having spent decades as a Director Communication in federal departments, national museums and international airports, and now as a communication consultant, I have seen my fair share of communication conflicts. Without question, the most common point of conflict is along the lines of introversion-extroversion. It stems from a lack of understanding and festers into a lack of respect. 

If you lean to the introverted side, read on for strategies to handle some of your most common communication challenges (PS: Extroverts, don’t worry … I’ll be doing an article to address the flip side of this coin, and give you strategies to better connect with introverts).

PET PEEVE #1: People blurting out answers without thinking them through.

Just like you, people who are extroverted are receiving information, interpreting it and expressing themselves in the best way they know how. They naturally do so in a fashion that’s quite different from you. While introverts appreciate time to think things through, extroverts enjoy talking it out. There is no intent to be disrespectful. Quite to the contrary. In their excitement to share ideas or feedback, extroverts may readily verbalize their thoughts.

  • STRATEGY: Know that they’re likely not doing it on purpose.
  • Knowing that they’re likely not doing it on purpose goes a long way to cutting some slack and understanding.  This form of communication, as irritating as it may appear to you, is how they naturally process and express their thoughts. See it as an invitation for you to mirror them and do the same. Jump right in and get your two cents in there. Make sure your opinion is counted. Which brings me to the next pet peeve …
PET PEEVE #2: People interrupting.

When someone interrupts you, even if they don’t mean it, it’s tough to take. You want to be heard. It seems no matter how hard you try, that person keeps on blithering on, oblivious to your situation.

  • STRATEGY:  Assert yourself. Open mouth and speak.
  • You listen well. Introverts are gifted with the natural ability to stop talking and start listening. This can also be your downfall. If you listen too much and talk very little or rarely, you may appear as disinterested and bored. If that’s not really how you feel, you’re doing yourself a disfavour. Others may not ask your opinion because they mistakenly read you as not being engaged or wanting to input. It may serve you well to hone your skills of speaking up. Not comfortable doing so? Just remember, outside your comfort zone is where the growing happens.
What strategies do you use to make sure your voice gets heard? You deserve no less.
PS: Want some help? …

Curious about other ways I could help you hone your leadership communication, leverage your natural strengths, and build productive and resilient teams? Check this out:

PROGRAMS (virtual or in-person as covid restrictions permit):  https://marionspeaks.com/programs/

Have questions? Comments? Other communication challenges you’d like a hand with? Let’s chat.

Until next time, here’s to …
Better communication, Better business, Better life,
Marion Grobb Finkelstein
Keynote Speaker / Corporate Trainer / Author


©2023 Marion Grobb Finkelstein (MarionSpeaks)

Marion Grobb Finkelstein
Keynote Speaker / Corporate Trainer / Author
Recipient of APEX “Award for Leadership in Service Innovation”
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Leadership communication expert, Marion Grobb Finkelstein shows leaders at any level how to build resilient and respectful workplaces by changing how they communicate. Chat with her at www.facebook.com/MarionSpeaks or
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Marion Grobb Finkelstein

Marion Grobb Finkelstein helps leaders use their natural communication strengths to build resilient teams that talk.

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