As the leader, one of the key benefits of virtual meetings is the ability to manage who speaks.
Why is this important?
In a meeting setting, for example, the host may layout the meeting’s goal and objectives and present the related information.
Now, for most introverts, they listen to talk. They’ll want to mull through the information before making an input. As such, the extroverted members of the team are already talking while your introverted team members are assessing the situation.
But, as Susan Cain, author of Quiet, The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, indicated, “there’s zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas.” So, you’ll want to ensure you get input from your whole team – especially the quieter ones.
What can you do to ensure more productive virtual meetings?
1. Circulate the discussion topic and relevant material beforehand. This allows the introverted members of your team to process the information and be better contributors during the meeting.
2. You can also ask for submissions post-meeting so that anyone who felt like they didn’t get to participate can do so.
3. Have larger meetings broken down into smaller conversations. Most conferencing tools give you the option for a breakout room. Use it to get smaller team meetings where more persons have a chance to contribute.
4. Encourage the introverted members on your team to contribute without trying to put them on the spot. For example, you can include them in the discussion by asking questions like, “Tori, what has really stood out for you from the conversation so far?”
5. Encourage being on camera, but don’t make it a requirement. After all, not everyone will have a strong enough internet connection, so always have the option to dial in. And remember to include those who call in into the conversation.
Remember that extroverts will naturally dominate discussions. So as the leader, make some space for all voices to be heard. It’s important that those introverted members of your team –have an equal opportunity to contribute. You won’t be sorry!
Here’s a sneak peek of my new online course Executive Presence for Introverts. Please connect with me if you’re interested in learning more.