Introvert’s Guide to Successful Work Meetings

Published: Apr 17, 2024

 Career Readiness       Workplace Issues       
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During work meetings employees are granted the opportunity to collaborate and share ideas, and the popular belief is that extroverts are best suited for situations like these. For introverts, meetings might feel overwhelming or draining, but there are ways to manage and overcome these feelings. Here are some strategies introverts can use to feel more confident and engaged during work meetings.

Before the Meeting

Being prepared is a great way to ease tension leading up to a meeting. When you receive a meeting invite, check to see whether it includes an agenda. In most cases, the meeting agenda should detail the meeting topics and the order in which they are to be discussed. This should help you to better anticipate whether your role will be integral to the meeting, or if you’ll be asked to speak.

In the event the invite does not include an agenda or any other information about the meeting, you could send the organizer an email or a message asking them to provide you with a meeting agenda. Another way to get more information about an upcoming meeting is to take a look at the list of attendees. This might give you a good idea of what the meeting is about, or whether a project you’re working on will be a topic of discussion.

Another piece of information that might be included in the meeting invite is whether the meeting is to be recorded. A record of the meeting could be particularly valuable to introverts, as they will have the ability to go through the meeting on their own time and take more detailed notes or determine whether they have questions about any of the material that was discussed. If you think this would be helpful, you could ask the organizer to record the meeting for you.

Before the meeting takes place, take the time to put together some notes to bring in with you. These notes may include questions you think you might want to ask, the names of people who are scheduled to speak, or information that you might have to provide in the event you’re asked to speak. Being prepared in this way will greatly reduce stress leading up to the meeting, and you’ll be able to rely on your notes if you’re caught off guard.

During the Meeting

Now that you know what the meeting’s about and you’ve got some notes to help you along, it’s time to attend the meeting. For introverts the idea of sitting in a room with a bunch of people for an extended period of time can be stressful enough, but being asked to speak might feel like an abject nightmare. In this situation, it’s important to remain calm. Do your best to not overthink anything, and just go with the flow.

Rather than sitting in the meeting and letting the stress get to you, focus on listening. As each person speaks, simply listen to what they’re saying. If you don’t want to make eye contact with a speaker, taking notes is a great way to distract yourself while also getting the most out of the meeting. That’s right, taking notes can help you focus on the topic at hand while keeping negative thoughts and stress at bay.

If you feel that the meeting is moving too fast for you to keep up, wait for a break in the action and politely ask if the meeting can pause for a minute or two while you jot some things down. This is a completely reasonable request, and the meeting organizer will appreciate your commitment to absorbing the material being discussed.

Arguably, for introverts the most stressful part of a meeting is being asked to speak. If you took the time to put together some notes before the meeting, you may be able to rely on them in the event you’re asked to chime in. Either way, if your input is required, take a breath and think about what you want to say before you speak. It would be far better to provide a delayed response that is well thought out, rather than a hasty response where you’re tripping over your own words.

It’s pretty common for people to feel nervous when they’re speaking in front of others, so don’t worry about how you sound or if it takes you longer to get your thoughts out. You might not realize it, but many of your coworkers are in the same boat as you, and public speaking is really just another skill that can be improved upon. If you’re looking to build up your confidence, consider practicing your public speaking with friends and family.

After the Meeting

Once the meeting is over, take a look at your notes and determine whether you have any additional questions. If you have a recording of the meeting, it will be even easier to reflect on the material that was discussed. In any case, once you’ve got your questions all set up, send them along in an email or a message. You might also realize that you have some input on the topics that were discussed during the meeting. If so, put together an email with your thoughts, and send it to anyone who you feel the information will be relevant to.

It's important to remember that the more meetings you attend, the more comfortable you’ll be. Being prepared can help to reduce stress leading up to the meeting, and when you’ve got your ducks in a row, you might find yourself worrying a lot less about contributing during the meeting. Introverts have their own unique set of strengths and qualities, and with the right frame of mind, they can be very successful in group settings.