Facilitation and Introverts

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Helene Jewell and I discuss introverts and facilitation in this episode of the International Association of Facilitators podcast.

Facilitating meetings for introverts

These notes are taken from the sleeve from the podcast, which you can read at https://facilitationstories.libsyn.com/facilitating-meetings-for-introverts?tdest_id=1608263

Jon talks about his work with leaders in organisations, who want to get more from their team, and about his survey where he discovered that about 1/3 of people say that they are not fully productive in business and that most of these are introverts. He describes the different ways that he works with people in businesses to help introverts.

In the discussion we cover:

  • statistics for introverts and extroverts and about what distinguishes people who identify as introverts.
  • “people energy” and some of the neuroscience behind it which may mean that introverts get more exhausted by people energy than extroverts.
  • Internal and external processing. One of the common distinguishing points between introvert and extrovert is internal or external processing
  • what kinds of things facilitators need to look out for to include the introverts in the room. This includes being aware, holding back some of the talkative people, encouraging quieter people to speak, speaking to introverts by name, giving introverts the chance to speak, making sure contributions from introverts are valued.
  • brainstorming and the importance of including silent reflection and writing in brainstorming
  • different types of introverts and extroverts, how to spot the introvert, and being careful not to label people.
  • the benefits of being an introvert. He talks about introverts bringing a different perspective on thinking which helps in avoiding groupthink and the reason for having a group being the richness of thinking.
  • ice breakers. How happy most introverts feel to be part of a team and how giving introverts a role is useful, as is knowing the value or reason behind any kind of engagement activity. Knowing the benefits and structure of the session is important. Jon shares an example of an ice breaker that didn’t go down so well!
  • Comfort zones: Is it best to “push” people outside their comfort zones or “stretch” comfort zones.
  • The virtual world. how introverts are coping with lockdown and doing more on line. Jon dispels a few myths about introverts liking to be alone and enjoying online meetings and suggests that actually introverts prefer meetings that have structure which is often more needed and more present in online meetings. However it is often harder for introverts to get their point across online.

You can listen to more episodes of facilitation stories at https://facilitationstories.libsyn.com/

It was a great pleasure to be interviewed by the IAF

 Artwork for FS23 Facilitating meetings for introverts

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