Speaker Circles launched – “an introvert’s secret weapon”

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I just announced that the next session of my Speaker Circles program is open for registration. Having the program ready is, on its own, enough to make me joyful.

But it gets better.

One of the members of the program’s Beta group, calls my speaker coaching “an introvert’s secret weapon.”

She wrote, “Sue’s helped me overcome my timidness in personal and group discussions without making me feel like I have to act like someone I’m not.”

As a coach, it’s always gratifying to learn that someone has gained from our work together. And it’s nice to hear that program does what it is supposed to.

More than that, it reinforces my strongly held belief that coaching is a true collaboration.

While I may or may not be “an introvert’s secret weapon,” she’s definitely “a coach’s ideal client.” She lets herself try new things even when they’re deeply uncomfortable. When I first met her, speaking was very uncomfortable. (We have the video to prove it.) Still, she was willing to try new things, to test her limits, to override the inner critic that keeps us where we are. She trusted an inner voice that told her she had something important to say. And she does. And now people are hearing it at networking and professional development events throughout our region.

Passion and purpose helped her expand her comfort zone, along with a little help from her coach and a friendly audience of other learners. (more…)

Brainwriting – Brainstorming Introvert-style

Introvert vs Extrovert thinking styleHave you ever encountered a group meeting; brainstorming, retrospective or other variety that was simply dominated by an outspoken minority? This often happens despite the best intentions and efforts of the meeting chairperson or facilitator. The result can be a fairly predictable set of proposals that rarely stretch any boundaries. In his book “Think Better” Tim Thurson calls this unfortunate result “braindrizzle”.

The likelihood of this dilemma is higher self-organizing teams where a facilitator role is absent. And the risk of skewed participation in a mixed group of introverts and extroverts in this case is even greater. Recently, project management consultant Johanna Rothman said, “It only takes one extrovert to kill a team of introverts.” How then to ensure the best thoughts of all team members are aired?

Not everyone is comfortable with the open outcry methods of traditional brainstorming techniques – least of all, those of us who prefer some time for reflection. “Brainwriting” – the silent cousin to “brainstorming” – is an important and useful technique that gives everyone equal opportunity to contribute their thoughts. It overcomes the “social disadvantage” on the part of introverts by ensuring the loudest (or most glib) voices don’t prevail in a group discussion. The added time to reflect on suggestions is a boon to introverts without stifling extroverted inclinations to be heard. We can easily adopt this process without cost or strain.