Team Building for Introverts

Psychology Today – The Introvert’s Corner

I found this blog by searching for “team-building for introverts”. We recently had a meeting at work to discuss possible team-building ideas. Team-building exercises and icebreakers usually make me break out in a cold sweat. I’m an introvert.

I’ve been reflecting on the pros and cons of introversion lately. I used to feel like something was wrong with me when I froze up during lunch at a conference. Sitting around a table with ten other people is torture.  I never know what to say or how to start a conversation then feeling self conscious for not joining in or tossing off a witty comment.

I felt like a bug under glass riding the school bus in high school. Everyone else was chattering away while I felt like a tongue-tied alien. I naturally preferred sitting in the back reading a book. I wasn’t trying to be anti-social. I just didn’t know how to join in.

I’ve recently given myself permission to just sit quietly and listen, not trying to force myself to contribute unless I really have something to say.

Splint said, “Getting back to teambuilding, I find that I don’t really have a problem with it when it relates to a specific work-related or assigned task or physical effort. I’d have no problem with team building softball game, or bowling night for example or if we were brainstorming marketing strategies for a new product. I can chime in during those anytime.

What’s funny is that bowling and softball were the only two suggestions that I felt comfortable with. Most of the other fun ideas made me want to break out in a cold sweat!

I’m reading Networking for People Who Hate Networking: A Field Guide for Introverts, the Overwhelmed, and the Underconnected. It has helped me realize that it it’s not the social situations that stress me out, but trying to be something that I’m not (an extrovert).

Through multiple examples Devora Zack show how introverts can succeed at networking by ignoring The usual advice and rules, substituting them with stuff that works for us introverts. It’s not about overcoming shyness (because many introverts are not shy) but about being true to ourselves and focusing on our strengths.

I’m also reading Confessions of an Introvert: The Shy Girl’s Guide to Career, Networking and Getting the Most Out of Lifethat I picked up at the library yesterday.  It’s a quick read. (I’m speed-reading through it so I can review the other three books before I have to return them.)  I got about 40% through it while waiting for my car to get an oil change.  I like the large print. Many of the points Meghan Wier makes are similar to the other introvert books, but she does have some new suggestions.  Like connecting to BNI; Business Network International. I also liked her advice about following up with written notes instead of a phone call. Phones and I just don’t get along.  I’d much rather spend the $0.44 on a stamp and write a note.  Thanks Meghan!

I’ve never been to a so called “networking” event, though I have attended conferences, training and trade association chapter meetings where some networking goes on.

How do people get connected to these networking events?  Are they useful?  Effective?  What’s your take on this?