How to feel confident in a group as an introvert?
An Introvert is a person who gets energised working/being alone and has low tolerance for sensory over-stimulation. So a group setting is un-settling for some of them due to sensory overload.
Hence they feel that they don't speak up in a group because they are overwhelmed with what is happening. However they do well speaking up in a one-to-one setting.
If you are an introvert, how can you handle your communication better in a group setting?
As Timothy Gallwey said in his seminal work "Inner game" there are two games to play - the inner game and the outer game.
1. How do you look at yourself?
Introversion is a preference not a problem.
If you think something is wrong with you by comparing yourself with extroverts, it reflects as lack of confidence and it shows up as reluctance/resistance in a group setting. Once you have "acceptance" of your preference to be a certain way, it's easier to work on getting accepted by others. Introversion is a preference not a problem.
2. How do you look at what you know/don't know?
Knowledge is power. Not knowing/ beginner's mindset is no less.
Introverts happen to be deep reflective thinkers. So they take time to think through all possibilities before speaking up. Not knowing the subject makes them believe that they are at a disadvantage. Quite to the contrary, a beginner's mindset can help look at a context with a fresh pair of eyes and is pretty useful in questioning assumptions. The need to be always right gets into the way of "beginner's mindset." Hence dropping that will help you add value to the group.
3. How do you view other's judgements?
Being in the good books of others ensures that you are only in books.
Being sensitive to others judgements of who you are and what you say does not empower you to progress. Some days you would say things that are in agreement with the group. Some days you don't. Both days are good!
1. How do you prepare?
Being reflective thinkers, time is of essence. So going to meetings unprepared increases the stress quotient of an already stimulated environment. As an introvert if you think a meeting is important, prepare for the meeting and have some high level goals on what you like to communicate and take the rest run-time.
2. How do you convey what you have not fully thought through?
One of the challenges that introverts have is to express/ communicate as they are thinking. There are several phrases that one could use to tell others that you are speaking as you are thinking/ more depth is in the works - "Answering from the top of my mind", "Prima facie", "on first thoughts", "thinking aloud" etc. This will give others the right perspective of where you are coming from.
3. How to be at ease?
Ease starts when the inner game is won - a complete acceptance of who you are. Being open and willing to articulate who you are, your values and what you stand for takes you to the end. Protecting your energy by having times that you work alone to compensate the time being in the group helps you to sustain yourself till you get there.
Else you will leave who you are to other's guesses. Its not a great place to be!
Introverts can grow to be excellent leaders if they stop comparing themselves to extroverts and try to do what they are best doing.
The path way to leadership is always unique and tailored to "who" you are. Own that!