Category Archives: introverted leader

Tips for Introverts In Meetings

Tips for Introverts in Meetings

Introverts can gain visibility and make a difference in both large and small meetings.

“The introverts loved it but the extroverts were frustrated. They wanted to talk out their ideas but I think we got so many more creative suggestions by using this method, ” said Katrina, a participant at my Wyoming Library Conference program this past week. She was referring to the brain writing technique I wrote about in The Introverted Leader.

Put a problem on a piece of paper and pass it around. Each person adds their solutions and builds on ones that have been written down. And there is no verbal exchange. Katrina has used the method twice in her staff meetings. She noticed that better and richer ideas emerged from  giving everyone time to think and reflect.

In my guest post on The Axelrod Blog , Tips for Introverts in Meetings  I mentioned brain writing and 4 other introvert-friendly meeting approaches.  Dick and Emily Axelrod, authors of that blog are also great new book Let’s Stop Meeting Like This.

Here is an excerpt:

Have you ever been told by your boss that you need to speak up more at meetings? Have you been frustrated that a few people seem to dominate every conference call?

If you are an introvert, meetings are places where you can influence change AND be recognized for your value. I have learned a great deal from research for my books The Introverted Leader and Quiet Influence about how to make the most out of the meetings you lead and attend.

So what do successful introverted leaders recommend? Consider these 5 meeting tips for introverts (I’s) that extroverts (E’s) can learn from as well.

  1. Get hold of the agenda. Take prep time to think about your comments and questions beforehand. This caters to your introverted sweet spot of preparation and allows you to confidently present your thoughts. No agenda? Offer to create one and your teammates will be grateful that someone is taking the organizational reins.  

Read the 4 other tips here and let me know if you have others. Thanks!

Being An Introvert




Thankfully the veil of confusion and ignorance over introversion is slowly lifting. More people realize that being an introvert does not mean you are a wallflower, misfit or anti-social geek. They realize that introverts have many strengths and draw on their vibrant internal energy. The explosion of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, a plethora of press attention on introversion and the popularity of Susan Cain’s book Quiet and others have all contributed to this welcome shift.

Between 2009, the publication date of my first book, The Introverted Leader and 2013 when Quiet Influence came out I have tracked this openness to learning about the topic of how Introverts can thrive and how we can get the best out of them in the workplace.  As an example, here are some comments I received after a program I delivered last week at Freddie Mac where introversion is being embraced and seen as another key element of valuing differences:

“ I didn’t realize I really am more introverted and need to honor my time for solitude.”


“I learned a lot about my sister and her potential to become a great leader. I also learned more about the introverted part of myself. “


“ I am going to swing by my boss’ office today and give him his needed face time.”


“I reached out to a colleague by phone rather than email, I really needed him to hear my voice.”


How much do you know about introversion? Take this quiz to test your knowledge about how being an introvert and using the strengths of quiet influence can make a real difference in getting results.



Librarians Exert Quiet Influence Behind the Scenes

Genevieve S. Owens_Read Poster

ALECTS President Genevieve Owens

In preparation for my talk at the American Library Association conference in Las Vegas, NV on June 30th, I have been following the lead of my hosts and doing my research. It has been quite a learning journey so far.

The division that has invited me is called ALCTS  (pronounced “Alects”),  The Association for Library Collections and Technical Services. Their President, Genevieve Owens, is a true introverted leader who uses her quiet strengths to direct the Williamsburg, VA Regional Library. She told me ALCTS members are involved with Cataloging and Metadata, Acquisition and Ordering, Collecting and Managing Materials and Preservation.

Some of you may remember the blog post I wrote last year called Libraries (Quietly) Rock  about an encounter with a wonderful Archivist named Maxine Ducey (now retired) at The University of Wisconsin Center for Theater and Film Research. She was the careful guardian of  my Dad, Alvin Boretz’s script collection for  50 years.  Dad depended on librarians in a pre-internet age. They were his true research partners. These fine professionals will always have a special place in my heart for this and many other reasons. And as I learn more about the complex challenges today’s librarians face, my admiration only increases.

In my phone conversations with them, several have described their “behind the scenes roles.” David Miller, Head of Technical Services for the Levin Library at Curry College in Milton, MA  told me, “Our outcome is not visible. Like in theater, no one sees the designers and technicians but without them, the event doesn’t happen.” It seems to me that these professionals are the best example of Quiet Influence, making a real difference without a lot of fanfare.

Librarians are fighting for relevancy and want more tools to do so, Genevieve told me. Resources are not free and staff are needed to help us navigate the many data bases out there. Have you noticed coffee bars in libraries and community events taking place in your local library? These are all designed to meet the public where they are. The ALCTS members also told me that the biggest change is the shift to Linked Data and Metadata. New skill sets are needed for this movement away from the traditional catalog. In a day of tight budgets librarians are asking, “What practices do we want to keep?”  “What can be abandoned to build the collections we want? The library is a “growing organism,” David Miller said.

In a future post, I will share what librarians really like about being research librarians. Stay tuned and tell me what your experience has been with librarians. I would love to hear about it.

Connecting Down Under



Friends told me that when you go to Australia, you need to listen carefully.  “Even though you THINK you speak English it is American English. You are sure to miss things”, they said.  And they were right.

Sitting at my first session of the National Speakers Association of Australia in Melbourne, I found myself straining to acclimate to the new dialect, the humor and the slang. Learning to order coffee (“long black”) and having “brekky”( breakfast) with my new friends took some concentration. So did remembering to enter the left side of the car and walk down the street without crashing into people. They walk on the left – go figure:). Continue reading

“I’m Told My Listening is Intoxicating! “

I am so pleased that Pearl Alexander decided to speak from her heart and write this wonderful piece about her experience as an introverted HR leader. Called “Leveraging Diversity of Temperament,”  Pearl fully embraces who she is and calls for extroverts to let her speak. Continue reading

Quiet Chief Execs Speak Up With Impact


Bernardino Portillo, General Manager of Medalla (holding the mike) at El Lider Introvertido workshop this Wed. at the Universidad Americana in Asuncian, Paraguay.

One of my introverted leaders heroes is leadership guru and former CEO of Campbell Soup Company, Doug Conant. He share how he eliminates the guesswork in getting to know him by offering up a document that lays out his beliefs, values and even his favorite books and quotes.

I profiled Doug’s examples and those of two other chiefs in a piece I wrote for Chief Executive called How CEO’s Can Use Quiet Influence to Get Results. 

This past week on my trip to Asuncion, Paraguay to speak on the El Lider Introvertido (more on that in my next blog post!) I met a wonderful man named Bernardino Portillo Marin, General Manager of a company called Medalla. He is well respected by his employees as being a man of few words but great impact. Bernardino strongly believes in leadership development and his advocacy for growing his people is evident everywhere.  Bernardino was fully engaged in the programs we had over the few days and his presentations were beautifully crafted. He put effort into flexing his style and the respect he has earned his palpable. I also found it refreshing to connect with him on Facebook and see that he interacts with many of his employees thoughtfully through this social media platform.

Quiet Influence is combination of art and science and these Chiefs are great models to observe and learn from. They are also really nice people.

Libraries (quietly) rock

quietly librarians rock

My Dad, Alvin Boretz at his typewriter

Going to the library was a ritual in my family. We always relished the peaceful vibe. Today, libraries remain a quiet magnet for all ages, despite the many computers dominating their space.

I wrote a guest blog post this week about my appreciation for a very special library called the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research  where the work of my Dad, writer Alvin Boretz is preserved. In quietly performing their diligent work, librarians, true introverted leaders have created access to this wonderful collection.

Read about my experience with this sanctuary of learning here.  I look forward to hearing your own library memories.