Engaging introverts to contribute at work can be a very difficult undertaking.  And today we are all working from home, or working remote, or working flex schedules and hours.  So at first glance it may seem impossible to get everyone on the same page!  And to make matters worse, it seems like the same handful of people – the usual bunch – are always coming forth to talk or participate making no room for others to contribute!  Frustrating! 

But there is hope.  And there is something you can do about it.  When we think creatively there are many tools we can use to help us engage introverts or others that are too often sidelined. Here are my favorite 3 creative tools:

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Make it a game. 

Often when we lower the stakes on meetings or gatherings and create a game, we can get people to contribute who may not normally be inclined to do so.  When we make a presentation or a meeting playful and game like, we tend to help extract creativity from the members of the group and therefore end up building a community of participation.  Everyone likes to play games of some sort or other, and creating a playful environment through games may help engage introverts who may not otherwise engage. 

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Break it up. 

Sometimes meetings have the same people saying the same things over and over again.  It can be maddening!  But if we are able to break up the regular meetings into smaller groups that mix it up a bit, we may be able to engage folks that are otherwise not fully participating.  Now you may be saying “Nir – I don’t organize the meetings – I am a participant!  How can I break it up and make my own groups when I don’t own the meetings?”  Well, you can say things like “Let’s take this offline” or “Vanessa and I and a few others will sidebar on this issue and get back to the group”.  Anything that takes the normal humdrum out of the meeting or event and mixes it up is likely to engage introverts.

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Experiment With New Methods.

Sometimes engaging introverts (or others) in meetings with 20 or 50 or 100 people on a Zoom, Teams or GoToMeeting is just not going to work no matter what you try!  It’s the nature of the beast.  So instead try to engage in other ways.  I have found that people who do not participate vocally in virtual meetings are sometimes superstars over email.  So try to engage via email.  Likewise, I find that some people really open up and contribute over the phone.  One on one or in a small group.  I have used Whatsapp for this very reason – to join three people on a call who would otherwise shun participation.  Experiment.  Trying different methods that may enable introverts to participate is paramount – and what methods may work for one team member may not be the same that works for all.  Get creative here.  And leave no options off the table.

Getting full engagement in a group is essential for the business to grow and prosper.  It is also an essential element in your career as you keep growing in your role and taking on more and more responsibility.  Not everyone you work with will be a grand extrovert. 

Sometimes the folks we work with need a different approach – yet what they have to contribute is just as important and the squeaky wheel.  While it’s true that sometimes the squeaky wheel gets the oil, it’s not necessarily where the oil always needs to go every time.  And engaging everyone to become creative is an important step in mastering your very own Creator Mindset.