Updated: Jan 8, 2022
Discover a Model That Will Change Your Approach - to Everything!
All too often life seems to be coming too fast. We are running from one meeting to another. We fill our calendars with work commitments and social obligations. We are rushing to GO - to do as much as we can, to match the tempo of others, to hustle all day long.
It's no wonder we peer up every once in a while, feel overwhelmed, and then look back and find our performance disappointing and our confidence wavering.
Especially for introverts, this is not our way. Most of us are not great at thinking on the fly. Others are much more agile. They thrive off that pace and they are paid to be the quick, intuitive brainstormers. That is ok. We, on the other hand, are hired to bring considerate thought and creative problem solving to the workplace. Don't chase others. Let's stay in our lane.
Our greatest talents are circumspect thoughtful engagements, prepared meeting approaches, resilience under pressure. These take time. We need to give ourselves the benefit of our time. And in exchange, we will be proud of our work products, our decisions, our relationships.
So rather than push to GO, STOP and try on the RSGN Model - Ready, Set, Go, Next, at work and for social events.
READY: This is the framing stage. What is the event? A business meeting? A social event? Are you excited or anxious about attending? Why? If you are anxious, must you go? Could you do this differently? Is the community social event something you dread? While it is healthy to stretch our comfort zone and try new things, we needn't do that always or to the point of despair. Pick your moments.
This is also the time to challenge, am I truly a valuable participant in meetings I've been scheduled into? Often, meeting planners cast a wide net. Do I bring important information or do I need to attend to represent my team or get directives?
If so, move to the next step in our process. But if the meeting is not a valuable use of your time or if the social event is not critical, consider declining. Own your calendar and defend your time so your energy can be applied wisely.
SET: This is the planning & preparation stage. For those events you will attend, you will contribute your best and dial back your own stress with a dose of preparation.
Venue- First consider how you can use your own strengths to excel. Many introverts are creative, excel in small groups, and typically for shorter durations. How can you craft the event to fit those dynamics? Perhaps a meeting outside or a walking meeting or attending with a buddy?
Agenda- If it's a business meeting, be sure to get an agenda in advance, along with pre-read for more lengthy or complex topics. This is a gift to yourself. Read the material. Jot down questions, concerns, opinions, items you'd like to challenge or support. This preparation helps avoid many of the impromptu comments introverts often loathe.
Goals- Set your goals for the event. It's not to gather a hundred business cards or get a standing ovation at a meeting. Perhaps it's to strike up a few conversations, one or two of which you will follow up on later. At a meeting, your goal may be to know your stuff, convey your opinions, gather important information to consider. Make these goals focused on what you can control and what you can celebrate.
List of Four- For social events, use the same tactics. Consider who will attend. Recall or scrub social media to learn a bit more about them - their hobbies, jobs, family, school background. Then compile your List of Four:
A few questions you can ask to get the conversation started. Everyone likes to be asked about themselves and will often reciprocate with some questions of their own. Before you know it, you are having a conversation!
List some unique and interesting points about yourself. Perhaps your favorite vacation, a sport you enjoy or an event you attended, a family milestone just celebrated, or a bucket list item you are planning.
Some current event topics like weather, sports, technology, or performing arts events. Avoid hotspots like politics or religion. Subscribe to a morning news feed to find a few topics to throw into a conversation.
If it's a business engagement, prepare to share more than your work title and tenure. What sparks your passion? What attracted you to the field? What has been the highlight of this job?
These lists may seem like overkill, but most introverts have suffered countless times from Introvert's Paralysis, when our mind freezes and we can't think of anything to say. That's when these lists will save the day. Review your List of Four before an event. Jot them on an index card and review them in the restroom or during an energy-boosting walk outside to refresh your memory.
GO: The meeting or event is here. You hopefully want to be there or at least you are prepared to be there and achieve your goals. Take comfort in your preparation. Familiarize yourself with the venue, interact early to break the ice, shower yourself with Positive Self-Talk and encouragement, and aim to relax. Once we slow down and wrestle control away from the adrenalin that seeks to course through our veins and distract us from our purpose, we can let our knowledge of the subject matter and natural curiosities prevail.
In meetings, be brief. Share critical points and solicit questions that will steer the discussions where it needs to go to gain support. No need to drone on and share everything you know about a subject. Be concise and purposeful.
In social environments, ask the questions you prepared and then let yourself get lost in the flow of natural curiosity. Don't fret about quiet patches. Silence is golden and often invites a new level of engagement. Remember, it takes two to converse. You needn't wear that full burden yourself. And recognize, not everyone is symbiotic. Some people just don't hit it off. That is not a failure on anyone's part, just a natural occurrence. Chalk it up to experience and move on.
NEXT: As much as we may often forget to prepare, we also tend to revel in the completion of a meeting or social, and forget to review the event. Carve a few minutes out to consider in this order:
Celebrate the journey. Take pride that you completed something that may have been anxiety-riddled or a new adventure. Nothing is perfect. Celebrate your efforts.
What went well? Did you achieve your goals?
Recognize how your RSGN process worked and benefitted you. Did your preparation help calm you down to meet your goals?
Consider learnings from the event. Perhaps there are aspects of the process you want to prepare or practice for more. These are the nuggets that will help improve your performance and build your confidence for your next adventure.
So before you get swept away by the busy-ness of the day, step back and apply the RSGN Model