As administrative professionals, you likely spend a considerable amount of time in meetings. True, many are mundane. However, some meetings provide a chance to interact and showcase your skills with higher-level staff. But it helps to be aware of the challenges you may face depending on whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert. Neither style is inherently better.
If you’re introverted, you tend to be more observant and thoughtful, and you’re probably uncomfortable having the spotlight on you. Yet it’s vital to your career that you actively participate in meetings and share your ideas. It’s important to maintain eye contact, which is crucial to a strong presence.
It’s also wise to prepare in advance by writing your thoughts beforehand, and then practice delivering them aloud. Another prep tactic is to share your ideas in smaller group settings, with your team, for instance. That way, you gain confidence articulating your viewpoint before speaking up in a larger group setting. At the same time, such practice enables you to gather input from your team to bolster your ideas. Once you’re in the meeting, it’s a good idea to speak up early so that you establish yourself as an active participant. Another strategy is to ask key questions that move the discussion along.
Those of you who fall more on the extroverted end of the spectrum have your own set of challenges when it comes to speaking up during meetings. Most notably, extroverts can fall into the trap of talking too much. It’s crucial to be concise. Can you say it in a sentence? Do so. Slowly.
Extroverts often speak rapidly, which means ideas can be lost as listeners try to follow what’s being said. Consider making an outline for how you want to present your ideas. It’s also wise to pause and leave space for others to share their thoughts. Even better, learn to draw others into the discussion by asking, “What are your thoughts?” Then truly listen to the responses.