While I am a bit extroverted and being around people energizes me, I need alone time too. I can pull from my extroverted side when I have to speak on little sleep or am otherwise off my game, but only for so long.
Knowing this has helped me figure out how to be a better speaker, as well as how to better connect with the introverts in my audience.
Extroverts will find me before a talk, raise their hands (sometimes too much), volunteer to do demonstrations, and answer questions. Introverts need a bit more—and sometimes less—from you.
Here’s how to connect with introverts in your audience:
1. Give fair warning.
Introverts benefit from extra time to prepare. Where an extrovert would jump in and participate, the introvert skids to a halt without time to anticipate. Let introverts know what to expect early on.
One of my most prized comments on a feedback form said, “Thank you for taking us outside our boxes—and for warning us early on that you were going to do that.”
2. Provide openings.