Respect Introvert Rhythm


I had a great dialogue with Red Cape Revolution founder Darcy Eikenberg . Darcy helps people figure out their next career steps in the workplace.  Our freewheeling conversation about our own experience with coaching introverts is recorded here. You can also read the transcript here. 

One of the points in our discussion: We live in such an extroverted centric world that the people who are the talkers – whether it be in brainstorming sessions or in coaching do a real disservice to introverts when they fill in the sentences. They need to allow for silence. We need to respect the rhythm of introverts.

The equation we’ve heard is the 80:20 rule; coaches speak 20% and ask terrific questions that get clients to express themselves in the other 80%.  That should mirror a lot of other conversations. When you’re trying to get the best out of the introverts in your organization allow them the dignity of their own rhythm.

Here is another excerpt:

J: It’s a constant battle to try to manage the technology. I think that’s one of the real things that’s happened. And, I think culturally – if you look at everything out there now, everything from reality shows, to the idea in organizations, too, andon TV, too, in shows like The Apprentice where we’re working on a team and everything’s about team identity–we’ve kind of lost sight of the need to just be quiet.

I wanted to share with you an interesting experience I had. You and I travel quite a bit, and I found myself on an Amtrak train several weeks ago going from Baltimore to New York’s Penn Station. Getting on the train with my bags, I looked up and I notice that something feels a little bit different. What felt different was that I wasn’t hearing anyone on cellphones and I wasn’t hearing any chatter, yet the car was full. I looked up and saw a sign in front of me, and it said, “The Quiet Car.” And here, I had stumbled on The Quiet Car for my three-hour journey! It was actually refreshing in a way to be unplugged. Who knows, there might have been other extroverts like me on the car who appreciated that time. But how often do we get chances to have that quiet car space?

D: It’s a great point. One of the things I’ve written about is “click less to connect more.” There is this intrusion of so much information at our fingertips. And even the intrusion of us just knowing it’s possible, even when you try not to click – it’s like, “Well, I don’t want to miss anything!” It becomes a habit, but creating the spaces where you can get quiet does lead to continued clarity for yourself to find what is unique and special about you? What are the things that you want to take control of at work? Or even in your broader life?


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