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3 proven actions to help introverts excel as leaders

Speaking up isn't always a natural skill for introverts, but it can be learned -- and it's essential to career growth and establishing the executive presence leaders require.

2 min read


3 proven actions to help introverts excel as leaders

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Introverts can learn to exert executive presence as well as extroverts. If you’re an introvert, learn to do three things in meetings:

  1. Speak up
  2. Speak first
  3. Speak often

Introverts frequently have great insights into a given situation, or the organization as a whole, because they have strong observation skills. While many extroverts are waiting for the next chance to jump in and speak, introverts are drawing conclusions and analyzing the situation. Thus, their opinions can be particularly relevant and important.

Introverted clients often say, “I didn’t think anyone would want to hear my thoughts.” They often refrain from speaking up because they think people won’t feel their opinions are important, or because they feel unprepared. They want to gather their thoughts and communicate them later — possibly in an email rather than in a meeting.

Feeling uncomfortable with speaking off the cuff, they convince themselves that they’re not capable of doing so, which just isn’t true. In short, one of the biggest leadership challenges for introverts is overcoming self-doubt about their ability to radiate executive presence. 

People want to hear your thoughts in the moment, not after the fact. You must learn to speak concisely and articulately in the moment to make your ideas heard. Introverts have great ideas, and they should absolutely be sharing them!

As an introvert, you already have smart analysis and critical thinking skills, and your input will be greatly appreciated and valued. Stop self-censoring and trust yourself to participate in dialogue during meetings. You have a key role to play in the discussion, so own it.


Want to grow your executive presence today? Learn the “it” factor to up your confidence, command, and conviction. Joel Garfinkle provides executive presence coaching and also conducts corporate trainings on executive presence. He is recognized as one of the top 50 coaches in the US and is the author of 11 books, including  Executive Presence. Subscribe to his Fulfillment at Work Newsletter. You can also view 100 of Garfinkle’s 2-minute inspirational video clips at his YouTube channel.

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