Research shows that introverts represent about half of the population. That means you probably lead your share of quiet, focused types.
To communicate more effectively with introverts, follow these guidelines:
Show patience. Introverts tend to think before they speak. They need a few seconds to plan what they want to say, so indulge them. Don’t pressure them for instant answers.
Resist labeling them anti-social. If an introvert declines your invitation to an optional social gathering, let it slide.
Let them deliver presentations. Give them opportunities to address groups. As long as you provide a clear purpose for their presentation, they will usually prepare diligently and perform admirably.
Serve as their agent. Introverts rarely toot their own horn. If you value their skills, express your appreciation, and suggest ways they can advance their career.
Assign a range of “extrovert” jobs. Introverts can excel in roles typically linked to extroverts, such as sales and advertising. They may not fit the standard mold of a talkative salesperson, but their ability to build trust and speak with credibility might help them win over prospects.
—Adapted from “The Ultimate Cheat Sheet on Introverts at Work,” Dorothy Tannahill-Moran, www.careerrocketeer.com.