Asking questions and listening – The key for introverts to become influential
- Guest Author
- October 6, 2017
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You would be surprised with the amount of great leaders that are actually introverts. You don’t need to be the loudest to influence people. Take Gandhi, Einstein, Bill Gates or even Richard Branson. (Check out his story about overcoming his introversion here.)
The best way to become influential as an introvert is to leverage your communication skills. You don’t have to put an extrovert mask and talk over people to make their point in order to become a great leader. But focusing on listening to people will give you a great advantage over extroverts and become emotionally intelligent.
Extroverts are often outgoing, socially confident and like get their message across. But they can also lack listening skills and empathy. Introverts, on the other hand, are great listeners. Instead, asking the right questions and listen carefully to their answer will help you connect better with clients, co-workers and even total strangers. Questions that you pose will give you valuable information to facilitate discussions and the strategic outcome of your conversation.
If you ask the right questions, people will open up to you. If people open up to you, you will build rapport and earn their trust. Once you earn their trust, you will be able to influence people and get their buy-in easily and effortlessly.
Invite people to chat in your ideal environment.
It’s important to feel comfortable when you are presenting to people. And if you feel uncomfortable in your setting, change the environment to one that you prefer. This might see you request a one on one meeting or to do a virtual chat over the telephone or computer. Whatever the setting is, make sure it is one that you are happy with.
Let strategic signs do the communicating for you.
An introvert friend of mine had a store in a conference and couldn’t put himself to engage with a stranger. As an alternative, he invested in a sign that would attract people to his business. The sign simply said, “Do you need to feed your hunger?”He didn’t have to actively engage with strangers, but instead invited them to approach him with clever use of his signage.
This can be done with the use of signwriting, lightboxes or even neon signs.
Even though this was done in a business setting, the same concept can be applied when being a vendor at a conference or attending a trade show.
Let go of any expectations.
Don’t get hung up on the expectation that you feel that others should have of you. Instead, focus on delivering what you want to say with boldness and confidence. Leadership is not about being vocal. Leadership is about decisively being vocal when you have weighed pros and cons. When comes a time when you have to speak up but don’t feel like it.
That doesn’t mean that you have to become more extrovert. It only means that from time to time, you must come out from your comfort zone when you have been applying the previous advice.
There are some times when asking questions and listening is not enough and you have to voice your opinions. In this case, let go of fear and voice your opinions. Susan J. Jeffers says in her book “Feel the fear and do it anyway”; that you can handle anything that comes your way. Your coworker interrupted you while you were making a point, don’t dwell on it. Take the habit that when you need to make a point, do it! You will see that it will get easier and easier over time.
Introverts don’t have to be outshone by extroverts. There are different ways to become influential and to share the same spotlight and recognition that extroverts work towards as well. Remember, it is about creating an opportunity for dialogue and making an impact. And it doesn’t just happen by being the loudest one in the room.
Mark Bourke is the Managing Director of Concept Displays, a signage company based in Melbourne Australia. When he isn’t working, you can find him enjoying life by the beach, park or near a BBQ.
Brought to you by Dorothy Tannahill-Moran – dedicated to unleashing your professional potential. Introvert Whisperer