I’ll start by asking you, dear reader, for permission and forgiveness in equal measure; permission to have a bit of a rant and forgiveness for using my blog as the place to rant. Still reading? Well I guess you’ve been generous, so thank you. It’s been quite a day! Ok, well to be more precise, I’ve attended one of those business meetings. Just the four of us, in a delightful hotel restaurant over an extended lunch; we three Introverts and the Extravert.
There were a number of things that I found challenging and I imagine you’ll resonate with many of them.
· The overloud voice even though we were talking business
· Lots of sentences that began “When I….”
· No real listening, just gap searching. And when the gap didn’t appear, talking over people
· Taking up so much space on the sofa next to me that I felt crowded
I could feel myself contracting. I notice this first in my chest and my shoulders curl towards each other. Have you ever felt that? How do you notice when you’re beginning to withdraw mentally and emotionally, if physical withdrawal isn’t possible?
But I needed to stay in the conversation not retreat from it. This was aided by the other two Introverts making eye contact with me, asking relevant questions and making supportive comments. The truth is we were all struggling though. I noted with interest the different strategies & tactics we used individually. One of us kept speaking even when she was being spoken over so the three of us maintained the conversation. The other Introvert stayed pretty quiet and subtly gave we Introverts more attention than the Extravert. And me? I kept in the conversation with the Introverts rather than turning my attention to the Extravert. And when the Extravert was dominating, I took myself away mentally and emotionally by literally turning away and gazing into the distance as I focused on my breathing to calm myself. Ironically, part of the meeting was exploring Mindfulness and Resilience! Oh, the irony. What would you have done in my shoes?
Towards the end of the meeting, I shared my focus on Introversion which, as you can imagine, went down like a lead balloon with the Extravert, coupled with a degree of mockery. Fortunately, this only served to strengthen my commitment to address the extraversion bias and empower Introverts to use their strengths proudly.
So, the good news is that today’s encounter ultimately proved to be motivational. There is much work to do and I’m up for the job.