If you're an introvert, meetings can be tough, even team meetings with people that you like.
You may find yourself wishing the meeting time was over already. Or maybe you just want to go hide under your desk, hoping people forget about you.
But, alas, you've got to show up.
So, here are some tips for making work meetings count:
If you're an introvert, it can be tough to do this sometimes. But when you show up prepared, it makes the meeting more worthwhile and you'll get a lot more out of it. And so will everyone else if they see that you've contributed to the agenda and done some research or work ahead on your own.
If you have to be at a meeting early in the morning, don't panic. Get whatever you need set up the night before.
Then, the morning of, get your coffee or breakfast and take a few minutes to yourself to psych yourself up for what you're going to do that day. It will help keep the anxiety away, leaving you more present in the meeting itself.
This is helpful to bring up early in the meeting, so you don't forget or feel stressed about it. You can even take notes during the meeting and write down anything that might be pertinent later.
If you really need to look something up or do some work, try to ask if you can do it later. You'll feel less stressed out during the meeting if you don't have to stay focused on what's being discussed at all times.
It's nice not to be expected to take part in every discussion topic, but it also feels weird not to contribute anything at all. If you're taking meeting notes, it feels more natural to jump in with a comment or clarification when needed, and you can use the notes as a reason to speak that doesn't feel awkward.
If it starts to feel like the meeting will never end, try to take this into consideration for future meetings. You can always bring up the length of the meeting during the next one. At Hugo, we practice a 4-hour meeting week. If you get drawn into too many meetings, perhaps suggest a similar rule for your organization.
Introverts often avoid small talk, but research shows people like others more when they make an effort to chat. If you're feeling overwhelmed, it's okay to leave. But if you have the energy, even a couple of minutes of small talk can go a long way.
If it's a smaller meeting with just you and one other person, it can be easy to slip into the land of your mind. To help yourself stay focused, take note of how well you're listening to what's being said instead of what's going through your head. And if you start tuning out, use body language cues to let the speaker know that you're there with them.
This is especially helpful if you're feeling drained beforehand. Think of the last time you felt really good and try to channel that same sense of confidence and strength to give yourself a boost before the meeting starts.
Or, you know, have some more coffee.
Taking a break can help you get more out of the meeting. If you've already had a few meetings in the day, make sure to schedule a gap. Or, just step outside for a few minutes. This is especially helpful for introverts who are easily drained by social interaction, and it gives you a chance to refresh and recharge.
If you're uncomfortable with meeting times, turn them down. It's better to politely decline than show up and make everyone else uncomfortable because you feel awkward or anxious about it. You can also suggest an alternative time that works better for you if you prefer something specific that the person organizing the meeting hasn't thought of.
These tips can help you make work meetings count as an introvert—whether for yourself or the sake of your team.
Templates for all sorts of meeting minutes: simple, basic, formal, and informal. (Download as Google Doc, Word Doc, or use in Hugo)
Learn how to take thorough meeting notes using these tools: meeting note templates, best practices, and how-tos.