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Multiple Thinkfluencers (3)

Arzumy MD | Grace Kerrison | Brenda Han

5 Tips to Thrive in Meetings as an Introvert

Nov 8, 2021 | 4m


Meetings with large groups tend to demand that introverts deliver in ways that go against their natural instincts. After all, ‘they listen more than they talk, think before they speak, and often feel as if they express themselves better in writing than in conversation,’ as Susan Cain describes in her groundbreaking book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking.

Thinkfluencers Brenda Han, Grace Kerrison, and Arzumy MD who identify as introverts share their tips to help you play to your strengths, and overcome the common issues and mental barriers you might feel when you’re in bigger meetings.

1. Practice, Practice, Practice

In most meetings, introverts tend to hold back and choose to listen instead. But it’s hard to add value if you don’t speak up. Stepping out of any comfort zone takes practice, and it’s no different here.

Brenda Han, Director of Brand & Innovation APAC at Restaurant Brands International, recommends making it a point to say one thing at each meeting you attend. Try to achieve your goal earlier, rather than later to take the pressure off. What you contribute can be something as simple as summarizing a point that someone else has shared. The point really is to start having a voice in the conversation.

Go the extra mile by reaching out to your peers or your boss after the meeting to get feedback. It will likely feel unnatural at the start, but that’s all part of learning – and why practice is key.

2. Managing Louder Personalities

Mentally prepare yourself for each meeting by front-loading and doing research ahead of time. Who will be in the room? What’s on the agenda, and what possible points of tension do you foresee? In the event someone aggressively pushes their stance, how could you respond?

Instead of gearing up to beat a more extroverted individual at their own game, Han recommends playing to your strengths. Actively listen and put yourself in their shoes to understand their intentions. At times, someone else’s especially assertive behaviour can stem from being under pressure to deliver in near-impossible time frames. Rather than withdrawing, or trying to ‘match’ their tone, focus on finding ways to help them so that you may both achieve your goals.

3. Creating a Space to Speak Up

Consider a recent meeting you attended: did everyone get the chance to share and speak up? And if not, how can you encourage this? For recurring virtual meetings, Grace Kerrison, Head of Sales Solutions, APAC at LinkedIn, recommends reaching out to the meeting’s host before gathering to suggest using functions such as ‘raise hand’ on teleconferencing platforms to facilitate getting input from everyone. In doing so, the meeting becomes a space for everyone to speak and sends a signal that louder opinions aren’t necessarily more valued.

4. Managing Your Energy

Organize one-to-one meetings when possible. Arzumy MD, CTO at Fave, recommends using big meetings for updates and one-to-one meetings for more in-depth discussions. For bigger meetings, make it a point to spread them out in your schedule. Consciously take a 20 to 30 minute break between meetings with big groups to disconnect and reset with an activity that helps you feel energized. You could either sit alone, take a short walk, or have a chat with one or two people you feel comfortable with. This way, you’re able to bring the energy you need to your next meeting.

5. Your Voice Matters

Your thoughts are valuable: a mindset that all three Thinkfluencers recommend you build. As an introvert who spends a lot of time thinking things through in your head, it can be easy to lose sight of the simple fact that your voice matters. Overthinking, letting anxiety build, and second guessing yourself – all without checking in with anyone else on the assumptions you’ve made – isn’t uncommon.

But, more often than not, because you’ve fleshed out your ideas and views internally, what you share is generally more valuable, even if it isn’t as polished as you’d like. If you’re not able to collect and relay your views during the meeting itself, follow up with a written email after. From experience, your colleagues are likely to chime in and continue the discussion.

This said, there may not always be time to carry on the discussion however valuable your thoughts might be. As such, it’s more important to keep voicing your views during the actual conversation. With practice and time, you’ll build confidence and develop ways to express yourself on your own terms.

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Arzumy MD




Grace Kerrison

Head of Sales Solutions, APAC



Brenda Han

EVP, Head of Business Development & Client Growth, APAC




Managing Your Emotions & Energy