If you like time to process information, are described as a great listener or the “strong and silent type”, or prefer to keep your thoughts to yourself … if you are sometimes misunderstood as being cold, detached and unemotive, you may be introverted.
It’s not a good or bad thing, it just is. There are definite natural strengths to this dimension of personality, and with those strengths come challenges.
When introversion meets extroversion, clashes can occur and normally, it’s along the lines of communication. An example of this happened just the other week.
The internet/cable/TV representative arrived in the morning. Nine loooong hours later, he left.
So into his own thoughts, this installation rep walked right past us, came into our home without removing his boots, and never introduced himself. It wasn’t until I asked him his name an hour or so later that he advised. He never asked ours. Maybe he cared, but I doubt it.
OK, so he’s busy. I get that. I also get that he’s representing a company and I’m pretty sure that this company wants to leave a good impression. Part of doing that means actually talking to the clients. Building relationships and rapport begins with making the effort and taking the initiative to connect.
It takes an introvert a considerable amount of energy to reach out proactively to clients, but no more than it takes an extrovert to squish their natural tendency of verbalizing their thoughts and listen, truly listen more, when the client speaks.
Throughout the day, this rep uttered maybe five sentences, most of them to decree that there were no options or solutions to the technical problems he was encountering. Because he didn’t keep us up to date as he worked along, we heard nothing except for the negative comments. The result? He appeared negative and definitely not a problem-solver.
Luckily, my husband is an expert at figuring things out, and HE, not the rep, put forward feasible solutions. For example, the rep, with a deadpan face advised us that there was “no way” the modem could be placed in the centre of the house. It was my husband who came up with the idea of using an exterior cable and running it outside instead of being limited by interior walls. Options man, speak to us about options. Just speak to us, please.
Later, this rep turned on all the three TVs to check them, leaving them blasting while I was trying to work. Oblivious to the fact that he was disturbing us, he continued going up and down, in and out without a word. I went around and turned the TVs all down, hunted the rep and asked him if they had to stay on. He said yes, which was livable now since I’d decreased the volume. However, he got so busy working away, at the end of the day when he left, he didn’t shut any of the three TVs off. Again, oblivious to the world outside his own thoughts.
Internally processing ruled. He was so connected with his inner thoughts, he forget to connect with us — the clients.
I share this story with you as a caution. If this sounds like you, if you tend to behave the way this rep did, there may well be no intention to disconnect with others. Regardless, you run the risk of doing exactly that. Your choice is clear — keep your client in the loop through updates and conversing. Make that connection even though it takes energy and effort. Your client is worth it … and so are you.
PS: Have you ever dealt with someone like this? Does this article describe you? Post your comments down below this blog. Thanks!
Recipient of APEX “Award for Leadership in Service Innovation”
© 2013 Marion Grobb Finkelstein\
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Communication catalyst, author, professional speaker Marion Grobb Finkelstein teaches individuals and organizations across Canada and beyond, how to connect with clients, colleagues, employees and bosses, and how to handle workplace communication challenges to improve morale, confidence and productivity. Chat with her atwww.facebook.com/MarionSpeaks and sign up for her FREE weekly”Marion’s Communication Tips” at www.MarionSpeaks.com