How To Speak To Be Heard (Even When You’re The Introvert In The Room)

Sometimes I feel like I’m an observer in the world, on the outside looking in. Like I haphazardly fell into a society where I don’t belong. Do you ever feel this way too?

As an introvert and highly sensitive person (HSP) myself, it’s something I think about a lot. 

It is Not An Introvert World

I’m mean, let’s face it. The world we live in encourages people to be talkative, competitive, and loud with their opinions. Not necessarily good or bad; it’s just the way things are.

But here’s what I know for sure. Being talkative, competitive, and loud is simply not how an introvert operates. We need alone time just like a plant needs water. It’s how we get our energy.

Social situations are draining for us, and we genuinely value quality over quantity when it comes to conversations with other people. So, when we do speak up, it’s because we have something that we’ve already thought through in our minds that we’d really like to share.

The trouble is, because of our quieter nature, it’s easy for extroverts to dismiss us (not because they’re bad people, but they often assume we have nothing to say… which simply isn’t true.)

Introvert Strategies To Ge Heard

That’s why it’s so important that we learn how to speak to be heard…especially at work.

1. Stay Expanded & Trust Yourself

To start off, one of the best things you can do is create ‘buffer space’ before you walk into any meeting or important event.Trust me, this is easier than you’d think. It’s all about time management.

Here’s what I mean…Let’s say you have a meeting with your department coming up.   About 15-20 minutes before it starts, find a quiet space where you can be alone. This could be a conference room, your car, or even the bathroom.

Take that moment to ground yourself with some really good deep breathing. Babies are a good role model for this. Their stomachs go way up and way down with each breath…so much so that you can hear each inhale and exhale. That’s what we want to imitate. You want to give yourself some good belly breaths.

By doing this, it activates your body’s rest & relax mode, which is pretty cool, right?  It’s also a great opportunity to gather your thoughts, slow down your heart rate, and do some positive self-talk. Once you’re in the zone, it’ll be easier to walk into any meeting with more calm confidence.

2. Read the Room

Because you’ve created ‘buffer space’ before the meeting, you’ll have something going for you that other’s wont…you’ll be grounded in the present.

While others may be chatting with each other or distracted by all the other things they need to do that day, that won’t be you.  You’ll be reading the room.

Here’s how you can do it:

  • Pay attention to other people’s posture, body language, and micro-expressions like raised eyebrows, pursed lips, or darting eyes.
  • Do your co-workers seem stressed?  Are they’re heads buried in their phones?  Or are they upbeat and chatty?
  • Get comfortable with the energy in the room and interpret your observations without judgment.

Your unique gift as an introvert and highly sensitive person is your intuitive ability to pick up what others are thinking or feeling. Being able to do this allows you to contribute to conversations in a more meaningful way.

3. Let Yourself Off the Hook

As the conversation gets going, try to relax into it. You don’t have to worry about saying and doing all the right things.

Remember, people are not looking for perfection- they’re looking for connection.

And this, my friend, is where you shine.  

Here are a few expert tips that’ll help you engage with people (and will make people want to listen to you too.)

  • Don’t just wait for your turn to talk. When other people speak, make them feel heard by making eye contact, nodding your head, and staying present in the conversation.
  • After someone says something, paraphrase what they said back to them to show that you’ve been listening and care about what they have to say.
  • If you feel like the other person really isn’t hearing you or understanding what you’re getting at, try asking them a question like, “what are your thoughts?” or “have you run into this before?”

Allow yourself to express yourself authentically while being mindful of the people around you. This will help cultivate an energy of collaboration and remind people that we’re all in it together.

Because the World Needs You. Sure, we may be living in a world that values extroversion. But that only makes it more important that we hear from you. The fact that you are different makes your voice that much more valuable. You have the power to hold space for people…to help others feel seen and feel heard. You have the power to engage other people in a way that brings meaningful, positive change.

And that is why, my fellow introverts and highly sensitive friends, that I’m challenging you to find your voice and let yourself be heard.

Because the world needs you now more than ever.

About Sara Winiecki

Sara Winiecki is a spiritual teacher and freelance writer who helps people make a positive difference in the world. Follow her blog on Medium here: Sara Winiecki's Blog