A couple weeks ago I did something embarrassing and shameful. So naturally, I’m going to tell you about it.
To keep up with my professional continuing education, I sign up for free webinars. These hour-long snippets are a nice way to stay current. Plus, they require no human interaction. That’s introvert speak for “Yeehaw!”
When a recent webinar I’d pre-registered for arrived, I logged in and entered my name. As a result, it was visible in the sidebar. No biggie. I can handle that. I grabbed some tea, sank back in my chair, and opened my mind to knowledge.
Then WHAMO!, this hit me:
“Hello, everyone. I’m So And So Peabody. Before we get started, let’s all speak into our microphones and introduce ourselves.”
Hot tea splashed my thighs. My heart leapt to my throat. All higher reasoning shut down, and my brainstem took over.
Fight or flight, which would it be?
Never have I exited a website so quickly. I think I left a skid-mark on the screen in my haste.
But as soon as the impulsive act was over, I berated myself.
What is wrong with you? Are you some kind of idiot? Do you think they won’t notice your brusque departure?
I’ve attended many conferences and seminars. When needed or forced, I can speak up just fine. After all, with age comes an introvert’s growth.
But at home where there are no requirements and I can take the webinar or leave it? Well, I got my arse out of Dodge.
Not my finest moment.
So, What Have We Learned From This Shameful Display?
For those of you who plan lectures, webinars, and conferences, here is something you need to know:
Introverts do not like introducing themselves. Never. Nunca. Jamais.
They panic. They worry about what they’ll say. They need time to process and plan, and as a result, they’re frantically formulating an answer and missing all the other introductions.
Yes, it seems dumb and childish. But it is what it is.
I understand for a longer seminar, introductions are needed (though a one-hour webinar hardly meets that criteria), so we introverts will need to speak up. But there are better ways to go about it.
For a short webinar, how about an alternative?
“If you’d like, please use the chat key to type in a brief introduction of yourself.”
This option allows introverts a choice, along with preparation. It also allows typing a response instead of saying it. Most introverts would prefer scrubbing Big Foot’s toilet to speaking into a microphone.
For a longer seminar where introductions are needed, how about a heads-up?
“Hello, everybody. We’ll get started in a few minutes. Since we’ll be together all day, introductions would be nice. Why don’t you take a few minutes to collect your thoughts, and when we start the meeting, we’ll go around and introduce ourselves?
See? Easy peasy.
For you extroverts out there, we don’t mean to be weird. Really, we don’t. In fact, I envy you. I wish I were you. You guys are brave. You’re classy. You get right out there and do your thing, minimal preparation needed. And you make us laugh and smile while doing it.
But for the rest of us, throw us a bone. Pretty please?
Do the words “let’s go around and introduce ourselves” frighten you, too?
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