We like to think we speak to benefit those who listen to us. But if speaking makes us nervous, are we expending all that energy on behalf of our audience, or are we just worried about ourselves? In this episode, we continue the story of teacher and entrepreneur Chris Do as he overcomes his fear of public speaking and begins to build an education platform. Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, Ph.D. shows us how to involve introverts in the workplace.
[00:00:00] Garret: We like to think we speak for the benefit of those who listen to us. But if speaking makes us nervous, we have to wonder, if we're spending all that energy on behalf of our audience, or if we're just worried about ourselves.
[00:00:13] Jaycen: In this episode, we continue the story of teacher and entrepreneur Chris Do, as he overcomes his fear of public speaking, and begins to build an education platform. What mindsets can lead us to the influence we wish to extend? And how does our personal makeup affect our reach? This is podcast about marketing, communication, and the account-based mindset. This is Reach.
[00:00:42] Hiromi: Well, thanks for joining us in our second installment in our series on value and involvement. My name is Hiromi, and I'm joined today by CEO and agency founder Jaycen Thorgeirson.
[00:00:52] Jaycen: Welcome.
[00:00:53] Hiromi: And chief creative officer, Garret Krynski.
[00:00:55] Garret: Hello.
[00:00:59] Hiromi: [laughs]
[00:01:01] Garret: Hello
[00:01:05] Hiromi: So, um, I have a question for you guys then. Would you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert? Jason, what do you think?
[00:01:14] Jaycen: Introvert.
[00:01:15] Hiromi: Yeah? Jay, what's your, uh, what's your Myers-Briggs four letter code?
[00:01:19] Jaycen: Uh, I don't know. Let me, let me look that up again. [laughs]
[00:01:24] Hiromi: [laughs]
[00:01:24] Jaycen: It sounds like a rare disease. But, I mean, uh.
[00:01:27] Hiromi: [laughs]
[00:01:27] Garret: [laughs]
[00:01:27] Jaycen: It's a rare personality.
[00:01:30] Hiromi: Garret, what about you?
[00:01:31] Garret: For myself, like, my whole life, you know, just doing that test, let's, let's take that as a benchmark. I've always been E. E, E, E and I think what I'm finding is as I-
[00:01:43] Jaycen: No, you don't say so. [laughs]
[00:01:46] Garret: [laughs]
[00:01:46] As I age, I'm trending more towards the middle and kind of, like, the line is heading towards I. I think, in general, extrovert. But, yeah, I think it's changing as I age. As life throws its stuff at me, things are getting different.
[00:02:05] Hiromi: That's interesting. How did you come to that determination? Like, what gives you the sense that something's changing for you?
[00:02:11] Garret: I don't know if it's as a '90s kid I'm getting jaded, uh, or if-
[00:02:18] Hiromi: Wait, we start jaded. '90s kids.
[00:02:21] Jaycen: [laughs] That's right.
[00:02:21] Garret: Now we're faded.
[00:02:22] Hiromi: Faded, yeah. [laughs]
[00:02:24] Garret: Yeah. Uh, no. I, I, I don't know if it's a chemical difference inside my physiology. I don't know if it's literally like a skepticism or whatever it is, but it just, I don't seek this kind of public environment with other people I don't know. I seek more moments of solitude, but when I get in the situation I feel it. Yeah, it definitely is still there. I just... The desire to get there isn't there anymore.
[00:02:56] Hiromi: Interesting.
[00:02:58] Jay, what about you? Like, if you were to consider the way that you feel about an upcoming social opportunity. Can you break down what it is about those interactions that might potentially drain you? You ever thought about that?
[00:03:09] Jaycen: Yeah. I, I, I... It's interesting, like, I've heard that, yeah, introverts typically are drained once they're there. I think it's probably, maybe, more the anticipation, you know, of doing.
[00:03:21] Hiromi: Mm.
[00:03:22] Jaycen: Right? Of, of going or something. I probably wouldn't seek it out. I find enjoyment when I do, right?
[00:03:27] Hiromi: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.
[00:03:27] Jaycen: But I, I think, if I was to seek something, maybe I'd, you know, it's like something so, you know? Like, going hiking, going sailing, doing some activity, but typically with, with ones you know, right?
[00:03:41] Hiromi: Right.
[00:03:41] Jaycen: Ones you love, love being around, but anything, if it's new, it's probably a little apprehension, you know?
[00:03:48] Hiromi: Yeah.
[00:03:48] Jaycen: To do it.
[00:03:49] Garret: Yeah. I feel like too, as life progresses, for myself personally, I find this like, the anxiety of consequence. Like when you're 19 and you make a fool of yourself in a crowd and everyone's laughing it's like the, you don't really feel that anxiety of consequence, you know? But when you're like pitching half a million dollars in business to an executive team, it's like the anxiety of consequence around that social event, or just whatever's at stake, becomes greater as you progress in life. And so, that might have a barring on it, too. There's more at stake. The consequence becomes real.
[00:04:30] Hiromi: Yeah. No, that's a really good observation, I think.
[00:04:34] Jaycen: Mm-hmm.
[00:04:34] Hiromi: Uh, that the stakes are higher the older you get.
[00:04:37] Garret: Jay, let me ask you a question. As-
[00:04:38] Jaycen: Yeah.
[00:04:38] Garret: Okay, so let me set this up by just saying, as an extrovert...
[00:04:41] Jaycen: Mm-hmm.
[00:04:42] Garret: ... I feel charged up by winging it. By going into a situation-
[00:04:46] Jaycen: Oh, I hate that. Yeah, yeah.
[00:04:47] Garret: Okay, okay. So, here's my question. Do you find, as an introvert, you're level of prep is directly commensurate to how you feel going into a speaking, a teaching...
[00:04:59] Jaycen: Yes.
[00:04:59] Garret: ... situation?
[00:05:00] Jaycen: Yes. Absolutely. Although, I would say, over time, I'd almost do better if I was less prepped in certain situations.
[00:05:07] Garret: Mm. What-
[00:05:08] Jaycen: It's just that, again, it's the fear in your head, you know?
[00:05:12] Garret: Mm.
[00:05:12] Jaycen: It's like, I feel more comfortable being well prepared.
[00:05:15] Garret: Mm.
[00:05:15] Jaycen: So I will over prepare.
[00:05:17] Garret: Mm-hmm.
[00:05:18] Yeah, so, it, like, as an extrovert, especially early on, loving the challenge of just like winging it, you can get a little bit too confident in yourself because of your extroversion, right? Like, oh, my personality will get me through this because I love this, you know? And then, you get caught and it's like, I got called on it, publicly, and then it's worst fear, kind of, scenario.
[00:05:42] Hiromi: It sounds like there's two opposing ends of the spectrum, where one person thinks y-y-you can create something great with zero preparation and another thinks I have to prepare this thing to death because its gotta be perfect.
[00:05:58] Maybe, maybe both sides are expecting perfection. One just overestimates and the other one underestimates. But the problem is kind of in expecting perfection, in a way, right? Like-
[00:06:12] Garret: Mm-hmm.
[00:06:12] Jaycen: For me, the perspective, you don't want to look a certain way. But...
[00:06:15] Garret: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.
[00:06:16] Jaycen: ... does it really matter? Because, yeah, it's not always gonna be perfect. You're not always gonna say exactly the right thing, but that's okay. [laughs]
[00:06:25] Garret: Mm-hmm.
[00:06:25] Jaycen: You know? It's okay. It's okay.
[00:06:27] Garret: Mm-hmm.
[00:06:27] Jaycen: You know, at the end of the day, right?
[00:06:29] Hiromi: Yeah and I think that's something that Chris advocates for in a lot of his business training too because no matter what we're doing, we can't let perfection become the enemy of the good. Here's what he told me:
[00:06:41] Chris Do: Everybody struggling with making [inaudible 00:06:43] almost always has the same problem, they want it to be perfect, they want to do it the best possible way. But you don't learn how to ride a bike by reading a book. You don't learn how to play baseball by reading a book. You just go and play and I think that's kind of an important concept. I have friends who are creative people and they want to create their masterpiece on the very first piece that they ever produce. I'll give you an example. One of my friends says, "Oh, I'm gonna do the most amazing desktop tour video you've ever seen 'cause it's a genre of video that people like to see. It's gonna get millions of views." It's been three years. This video has not been produced because they set these very high expectations. The bar was set. They made some bold proclamation that it's gonna get a million views and it's gonna totally crush it. And so, every time they start that project it's like, oh, this is not that thing. This is not gonna get me those views. So instead of releasing and learning, they're just holding onto it and it's not really moving much in terms of their own personal growth and development.
[00:07:47] That's how a lot of people operate and so many companies, especially in the Silicon Valley, have a concept and they put everything they have against a concept without ever testing it. So when they go to launch, no one uses it, no one cares, and they're kind of out of business. So the two founders of 37signals base camp wrote this book called the REWORK and the concept is this, instead of making one big gamble, where if you fail it's catastrophic failure where you, it's not recoverable, like literally you'd be bankrupt or you'd be on the street, have many small bets. Instead of having one 10 week project, have 10 one week projects. So you just get the minimal viable product out and then you learn in the failures so that each release, each iteration, you're able to improve. So by the time you're on your seventh or eighth version of this, you cannot fail because you keep changing and evolving and you'll get there.
[00:08:42] I'll tell you a little short story here. I remember early, early on, I was on YouTube watching this video, someone had sent it to me, about a young man named Gary Vaynerchuk and he was speaking with USC business students. I didn't know who he was. I was watching him and he was on fire.
[00:08:56] Gary Vaynerchuk: You know, uh, you know. What I, what I mean by that is that, you know, it's crazy for me that that word is now considered, like, cool and good.
[00:09:07] Chris Do: He said things in a bombastic, emphatic way.
[00:09:10] Gary Vaynerchuk: ... anything I could do that would be awesome for you guys to make the most money I could make, I would create a test, or, or a drug that allowed people to become self aware. I think the number one thing...
[00:09:19] Chris Do: He was able to recite facts and figures and quotes and I was not so much impressed with the human part of him and literally what he was saying. But the fact that he could do this and he chose to use those words was very impressive to me. I remember thinking to myself, "Man, I will never be able to do that. That is so amazing. It's not for introverts like me."
[00:09:43] Here we are, eight years later. The odd thing is people say the same thing about me today. Which is, how are you so coherent? How do you have the ability to recall facts and figures and pull out quotes and be able to reference so many different ideas and people? And every time they ask me that question, I get snapped right back to me circa 2013, having that same thought of someone else. You don't get there, wherever there is, by not starting here, like, right now. You can't be thrown into a championship boxing having not gone through some level of amateur and semi-professional rounds before you step in there 'cause you're gonna get killed.
[00:10:26] The path towards coming to that realization is through repetition, through making some pretty rookie dumb mistakes. And how'd you get used to it, right? You need to just record and make garbage content, embrace that you're gonna suck, that no one's gonna care, and if someone cares it's the worst kind of attention you're gonna get so that you can get to that point where you can be much, more, more intentional about what it is that you wanna say and how you want to say it. So, January of 2014, we released and recorded our first YouTube video.
[00:10:53] Jose Caballer: I want to talk about the business of design and the design of business. This is our first episode here at Blind Studios with Chris Stowe and myself, Jose Cavalier, where we're gonna be talking about...
[00:11:04] Chris Do: So, in the very beginning, we would do the minimal amount of preparation which is, what are we gonna talk about today? Then we jot down two or three notes, turn the camera on, and we would just talk to camera.
[00:11:15] We're, we're gonna do three topics, right?
[00:11:16] Jose Caballer: Yep. Three topics. 10 minutes each. Keep it...
[00:11:18] Chris Do: Yep.
[00:11:18] Jose Caballer: ... short and sweet.
[00:11:19] Chris Do: Go for it.
[00:11:20] Jose Caballer: The first part is, let's talk about...
[00:11:21] Chris Do: We just needed to put in the reps. It was unplanned. It wasn't, like, we had this master idea as to what we're doing mostly because my partner at that time, Jose, is extremely talkative. He's very gregarious and an extrovert.
[00:11:36] Jose Caballer: It might be 'cause I'm loud, rash, and obnoxious, and you've seen me make the mistakes in our political, kind of, interactions where I get a little bit out of hand and I c-come from ego versus coming from...
[00:11:44] Chris Do: And despite being an introvert, I'd been teaching for 10 or 15 years, so I know how to talk as well, I just needed to get comfortable with it. But here's the problem. In conversation, I could say something to you in the spirit of what I'm saying and you'll understand me, even if I didn't choose the right words, my tone wasn't correct, right? But if we capture that conversation and we put it out in the world, and we see this happening in political debates and conversations all the time, anybody can pull out a hot take, an out of context remark, and then be crushed by it. Be canceled because of that. And people don't understand the intention and the context, which is not something that exists in normal life. So I, I think many of us have experienced, if somebody puts a recorder in your face or a camera, you freeze up because you think to yourself, "This will now be preserved for all of eternity. I have to be very mindful what I say. I can't say inappropriate things. I can't talk about something that can't be verified and validated." So now, you're under your own microscope to know that this is gonna be preserved.
[00:12:46] To the first, I think, three and a half episodes that we did, I was just sitting there really tight lipped, jaw clenched, and it caused some physical pain. When speaking to camera, I'll tell you very realistically, thought to mouth to words doesn't work. So, first part is get your mouth to work, which is a big struggle for me specifically. I felt my jaw aching the next day. I couldn't figure it out at first, but then I knew why 'cause it was so tight.
[00:13:15] It came to a point when my wife, watching the videos, said to me, "I tried watching it, honey, and you guys... I just, I just can't watch it." And so, I thought to myself, "If the person who, theoretically, loves me the most in the world, maybe next to my mom and dad, says 'I can't watch your videos', what is the general public gonna say?" That was a big wake up call for me. Watching the content back, we're talking over each other, we're starting one thread and then we're beginning another thread. It's like we never have any finality.
[00:13:49] Jose Caballer: It was called Future Splash when it came out.
[00:13:51] Chris Do: What was it called?
[00:13:51] Jose Caballer: Future Splash.
[00:13:52] Chris Do: All right.
[00:13:53] Jose Caballer: That was the name of Flash and it wasn't even, like, it wasn't even like...
[00:13:55] Chris Do: So you're dating yourself a little bit now.
[00:13:56] Jose Caballer: ... six. Yeah, it was in a [inaudible 00:13:58] and then Adobe... Not Adobe. MacMedia bought it.
[00:13:59] Right. Uh, the state of the-
[00:14:01] Chris Do: And so, we're not approaching the audience with respect. You have to respect that they can choose to do so many different things. Why would they choose to watch this piece of content and give you their time if you don't organize it? If you don't have a plan in place? And so, that was a big breakthrough for us.
[00:14:21] My understanding of introversion is, it's a mostly energy management, right? So, if you're an introvert, being around people drains you so then you need a time and a place to recover and recuperate and recharge. So you're not naturally going to be inclined to be in public spaces, speaking to a lot of people, because that would drain you. And so, when we're out in some kind of public way, we're gonna lose in our energy. You just learn to live with it and you build up tolerance, so that it doesn't take you as long to recover.
[00:14:50] However, when you're around people you care about, maybe your family, friends, you would feel pretty energized because you genuinely want to connect with them and it, how you build human relationships so there's not an issue there. But when I did public speaking, when I was in groups, I used to look at it from the point of view of...
[00:15:10] What makes me so different-
[00:15:11] ... I need to be smart. I need to choose words carefully and be funny...
[00:15:17] It's so good to see you guys.
[00:15:18] ... be charming...
[00:15:19] All right!
[00:15:21] ... and I want to be the best speaker amongst all the speakers. At least I don't want to be the worst. And so, all of these are like, kind of, "I" observations. Like, I want, I need. And so, you're competing against, against yourself.
[00:15:40] Actually, many people I know are extroverts and they don't like public speaking, either. I talked to one of my friends who's a therapist and she said that if you've ever been in a relationship where you're talking to someone and they do not emote back to you, you feel really weird, like, am I communicating? You'll get this feeling of being dysregulated and when you're doing public speaking, depending on where you are culturally, one person is speaking and no one speaks back. So you take that same dysregulated feeling and you start to feel really funky at that point.
[00:16:16] The one thing that's really changed my thinking around this was purely accidental. My wife was watching a video and she's very much into spirituality and meditation. And so, she's watching this older, asian man, I think he must have been a monk. He was speaking to this audience. I catch a big piece of it and just, coincidentally, just at that moment he asked the audience a rhetorical question. "Do you want to know how I'm not nervous standing up here talking to you?" And then he said, "It's because, in my mind as I'm talking, I'm saying a prayer for you." It's like, what a beautiful sentiment. So this was like inverting the lens away from ourselves, our ego, being self centered, and turning it towards the audience which is, I'm here to serve. And as a servant, how can I do wrong?
[00:17:11] I do remember very specifically where I was, what happened, and how it happened. I'm in Seattle. I'm doing a talk for, like, Adobe Video World or something like that...
[00:17:23] I want to let you guys know about this...
[00:17:23] ... and I'm one of the key notes. Often times, hours before speaking, I get a lot of indigestion. There must be some kind of crazy amount of acid, like, I can't eat anything or it's gonna run right through my body and I get really parched, like, dry mouth, the whole bit. My nerves are shot and I'm just feeling like I'm expending all of my energy when I need to be saving it for when I'm on the stage and when a speaker's nervous, the audience feels that and they tense up, which then reflects back to the speaker. So it's like a horrible, vicious cycle.
[00:17:56] You try everything. I'm going to the bathroom. I'm doing the vocal warm up exercises. [inaudible 00:18:05] power posing. Hands on hips, like Wonder Woman or Superman. It was not working. And I remembered that video, that monk, and thought, "All right, dude. Calm down. What is it you want for people today? What is it you're trying to do?" And then I'm just having this internal dialogue. After I go out, I do my thing, people are laughing, enjoying themselves, and then I enjoy myself, and they laugh, and it's just infectious.
[00:18:33] If you begin centered, calm, energetic and joyful, or with a spirit of generosity, the audience feels that. They're at ease. The smallest things that you do, where you mess, up, they'll go...
[00:18:43] Speaker 9: Aww.
[00:18:44] Chris Do: ... "Aww. How cute. So funny. Interesting. I like this person." And then you feel that and they're generous and then you're generous and it goes the other direction. I convince myself, "Remember this. Remember this." After I got off stage, I called my wife. She was alarmed because I never call her when I'm doing public speaking. I said, "Honey, you won't believe it. I wasn't nervous for the first time." She goes, "Wh-wh-what happened? Tell me." I say, "I, I did that thing." She's like, "What thing?" "The monk thing." And I told her that more for me than for her. I wanted to memorialize it.
[00:19:25] That's the beauty of speaking. When you speak, you gain clarity. So if you tell somebody something, you also record it for yourself. That's why when one teaches, two learn. The student and the teacher. So I remember that and I told myself that whenever I got lost in the woods, that's the breadcrumb to get back. So now, it's really strange to actually enjoy talking to large groups of people. I didn't think it would be possible. I still have that public speaking fear. I'm still somewhat drained. But I just find, personally, that if I think about serving people and that's my main drive, then I'm good.
[00:20:07] Hiromi: I love that tip. And really, you know, the idea in general that our default state doesn't have to be a curse. We all have dormant potential that we can release and train with the right mindset. So since Chris is talking specifically about introversion, we wanted to invite an expert on the topic to give us some perspective and we're really fortunate to have with us Dr. Jennifer Kahnweiler. She's a best selling author of books like "The Introverted Leader" and one of the top global leadership speakers on introversion.
[00:20:36] Jennifer, you're the perfect person to have for this part of Chris' story.
[00:20:39] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: [laughs]
[00:20:39] Hiromi: I really appreciate you taking the time to speak with us today.
[00:20:42] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: It's my pleasure.
[00:20:43] Hiromi: [laughs]
[00:20:43] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: Thank you so much.
[00:20:44] Hiromi: Thank you.
[00:20:44] So, Jennifer, how would you describe what you do to someone that might not be familiar?
[00:20:49] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: Well, I'm an author and a speaker and I specialize in unleashing the talent of introverts and my goal is to shift the cultures of many of our companies to be more inclusive of introverted personalities. So I call myself a champion of introverts.
[00:21:06] Hiromi: Yeah, I like that. You know, of course, there are a lot of self improvement books on introversion, but I feel like many of them are coaching introverts to become extroverts. Whereas, I felt like your message was a little bit different. That, maybe, we all have strengths and that we can capitalize on one another's strengths. Uh-
[00:21:26] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: Right.
[00:21:26] Hiromi: Did I kind of get that right, or?
[00:21:27] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: You got it totally right. Yeah.
[00:21:29] Hiromi: Okay.
[00:21:29] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: In fact, my subtitle of my first book, "The Introverted Leader" is building on your quiet strength and that is absolutely the message, Hiromi, is it's about understanding, A, what your strengths are and owning those because introverts are often times given the message that the way they are is not quite right. That they're not fitting into the extrovert ideal, particularly in western society. But once you own that and you recognize what those strengths are, then as introverts, it's taking a look at how you can achieve success using those strengths.
[00:22:01] Hiromi: Right.
[00:22:01] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: So, for instance, if you're networking, how do you do that in a way that's introvert friendly? You know...
[00:22:06] Hiromi: Mm-hmm.
[00:22:06] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: ... if you're public speaking, what's a way you could pull some of the natural strengths you have to do a fabulous job? Which introverts do.
[00:22:15] Hiromi: Yeah.
[00:22:15] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: But it's not necessarily doing it the extrovert way. So, yeah, you definitely got it right.
[00:22:20] Hiromi: Okay, perfect. So, I think most of us are familiar with the general concept of introversion and extroversion but there's a probably a little bit of misconception about what those terms really mean. Would you mind, maybe, clarifying that definition for our...
[00:22:34] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: Oh, no, of course.
[00:22:34] Hiromi: ... audience, as well?
[00:22:35] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: Yeah and it's, it's morphing. We're getting more of an understanding. But it really does come down to energy and stimulation and introverts get their energy internally and they can go out in the world and be very sociable and connect with people, but they need to guard that reserve. It's like a battery that goes down if it's used too much.
[00:22:55] Extroverts, on the other hand, are really stimulated by being out in the world, being with people, and they need more of it. Their brain chemistry requires and demands more of it. So it's really just a wiring difference. There's nothing right or wrong about it, you know?
[00:23:09] Hiromi: Yeah, right. That makes sense.
[00:23:10] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: And what we're also finding now is that it's not either, or. It's not like, a lot of things, binary. Most of us, probably all of us I would argue, have introvert and extrovert traits within us. Think of it like a bell curve that most of us are clustered right towards the middle, you know? And there are people that are extreme. You know...
[00:23:29] Hiromi: Right.
[00:23:29] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: ... never want to really go outside and call themselves hermits. And then you have, on the other side, you have flaming extroverts who constantly want to be, you know, the social butterfly. But I think for most of us, we can tap into both those strengths and I think we saw that very clearly during the pandemic when the extroverts were forced to stay in lockdown and how to tap into that inner reserve. And the introverts really enjoyed having [laughs] you know...
[00:23:53] Hiromi: [laughs]
[00:23:53] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: ... the solitude and that quiet and that alone time, to an extent. After, you know, maybe six months or eight months or so, I was hearing from them that, you know, it gets kind of boring being...
[00:24:04] Hiromi: Right. Yes.
[00:24:04] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: ... in your house all the time, right?
[00:24:07] Hiromi: Yeah. I didn't even think about that. How the pandemic must have provided a lot of new research fodder for you.
[00:24:13] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: Yeah.
[00:24:14] Hiromi: [laughs]
[00:24:14] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: Yeah. It, it has.
[00:24:15] Hiromi: Yeah.
[00:24:16] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: It has. For sure. And I think we're still researching now, as we move back into remote work and hybrid and...
[00:24:22] Hiromi: Yeah.
[00:24:22] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: ... kind of figuring out how introversion, extroversion also come into that, you know?
[00:24:27] Hiromi: Right.
[00:24:27] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: It's one factor. That's what I wrote about in the last book is taking a look at organizations and workplaces that have been ahead of the curve. You know, that were really thinking about different personalities as they were creating the design for their offices and as they were recruiting. I looked at seven different practices and looked for examples of where companies were considering that, particularly the introverts, had either space to just think...
[00:24:51] Hiromi: Yeah.
[00:24:52] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: ... is one aspect of diversity, if you will.
[00:24:54] Hiromi: You know, uh, you're talking about the way that an introvert uses energy and the way that an extrovert relies on social interaction. Have you heard any compelling theories as to what those processes are that are contributing to that difference? Like, what are some of those thought patterns that are causing a drain in some...
[00:25:13] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: Mm.
[00:25:13] Hiromi: ... and a energizing effect in others?
[00:25:15] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: Well, I have heard from introverts that they overthink quite a bit. That they spend a lot of time in analysis, yeah. So, that's a challenge.
[00:25:24] Hiromi: Oh, yeah. Thank you. I'm, I'm...
[00:25:25] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: [laughs]
[00:25:25] Hiromi: I'm squarely in that camp, for sure. [laughs]
[00:25:28] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: But also, one of the things I found in the research that we did in "Quiet Influence", which is the second book that I wrote on this.
[00:25:34] Hiromi: Yeah.
[00:25:34] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: It was really taking a look at how do people influence across a workspace and organization? What are the tools introverts use to do it effectively? And, um, I identified those quiet strengths in all kinds of ways, you know? Like, to float a proposal, to write it down, to share it with people, to listen one on one to what the resistance points were, and to really understand the stakeholders and not just kind of rush things through. Showing the empathy. All of these things were very, very critical in them having success. They provoke new ideas. They challenge the status quo. They just connected with people in very meaningful ways so that people often times say, "My best teammate is an introvert." You know, "I have most respect for them."
[00:26:19] Hiromi: Yeah.
[00:26:19] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: Because, because of those qualities that they were exhibiting. But, again, overuse of any strength becomes a weakness. So that was something we found that came up, uh, continually.
[00:26:28] Hiromi: Yeah. So, introverts have a strength in their depth of thought and in consideration of details but, as you're noting, that depth comes at a cost. Both because it's a lift, from an energy standpoint, we're exhausted. And then, sometimes, we can probably get a little stuck in there, right? Maybe overthink things...
[00:26:44] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: Mm-hmm.
[00:26:45] Hiromi: ... a bit and that might inhibit us from engaging.
[00:26:48] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: Exactly. I had one individual I interviewed for the last book, a very successful HR leader, Pat Waters her name is, and, uh, she talked about how in the meeting environment you've got talkers and the extroverts who like to connect by talking out their ideas, you know?
[00:27:02] Hiromi: Right.
[00:27:02] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: That's how they get clarity. So it's a challenge sometimes to get in there when they're talking. But a coach told her early on that if she was in a meeting, and she had a point to make, and she ran it over in her mind four times, that she had to verbalize it. But I think that was a good point that the introverts need to speak up.
[00:27:20] Another thing they do, I think effectively, is that they have people that are there, friends or their teammates, who, they can even prep ahead of the meeting and say, "Look, if I'm trying to get in and you know I have ideas on this, you know, just pitch the ball to me."
[00:27:35] Hiromi: Yeah.
[00:27:36] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: So they prepare.
[00:27:37] Hiromi: Yeah. So, introverts might excel at more premeditated thought over spontaneous expression but what you're saying is we can not only prepare our own thoughts, but we can prepare others to support us or involve us...
[00:27:49] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: Uh-huh.
[00:27:50] Hiromi: ... in the conversation? Am I understanding...
[00:27:51] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: Yeah, and we can do it for...
[00:27:52] Hiromi: ... that right?
[00:27:52] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: ... other people. Like, there's a big term now that's being used called Allyship.
[00:27:56] Hiromi: Mm-hmm.
[00:27:57] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: And being an ally for underrepresented folks. Whether it be woman, it could be introverts. It's being just conscious of that for doing it for other people. But to speak up and to say, like, "I know, Hiromi, you've been working in this area for a little while. Like, let's hear your thoughts on that." So a good facilitation makes a difference.
[00:28:14] I had ran into leaders who were like, "It's been a little frustrating, but I'm only hearing from the same people all the time. But I, I haven't really paid attention to that process. Look what I'm missing."
[00:28:25] Hiromi: Right.
[00:28:25] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: And so, once they realize that, then they start to put in place practices like, let's go around to each person on the screen right now and tell us in one minute what your opinion is on this. You know...
[00:28:36] Hiromi: Yeah.
[00:28:36] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: ... just using techniques to involve and engage people. So it shouldn't be just on the shoulders of the introverted, but it should also be on the people who are, you know, in charge of running things. [laughs]
[00:28:47] Hiromi: Yes.
[00:28:47] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: Or the leaders.
[00:28:48] Hiromi: Yeah. Right, right.
[00:28:49] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: Yeah.
[00:28:50] Hiromi: It's a two-way street, for sure.
[00:28:51] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: Yeah. And putting in place practices that make it easy for people, so it just becomes part of the culture.
[00:28:57] Hiromi: Right.
[00:28:58] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: Like, I'll give you one example of some companies I'm dealing with now. They end their meetings, like, 10 minutes early before the hour and one of the reasons they do that is Zoom fatigue.
[00:29:07] Hiromi: Right.
[00:29:08] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: I'm sure you've experienced that, too.
[00:29:09] Hiromi: Absolutely.
[00:29:10] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: But I think most people really appreciate that. Like, oh, okay. Now I can think about the next meeting. You know...
[00:29:17] Hiromi: Yes.
[00:29:17] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: ... kind of decompress, see what do I want to do as a follow-up. Instead of like having these meetings where it's just like back to back. The extroverts could keep going, you know? But it was very much helping the introverts to decompress and that's, that's just being aware of what, you know, that break that, that introverts need.
[00:29:33] Hiromi: Yes. Being aware of the needs of others. That, that is very important. And that those needs may not be the same as your own. Um-
[00:29:39] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: That's right. That's right
[00:29:41] Hiromi: In our story piece, you know, Chris was saying that he experienced a lot of anxiety, particularly when he was speaking publicly, when he focused on himself. But when he focused on the needs of others, that anxiety seemed to lesson because he wasn't so worried about how he was being perceived. I feel like what you're saying has some crossover because you're talking about both introverts and extroverts being aware...
[00:30:06] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: Yeah.
[00:30:06] Hiromi: ... of the needs of others and maybe focusing on that more than your own needs. Have you ever...
[00:30:10] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: Yeah, no. I'm, I'm-
[00:30:10] Hiromi: ... observed that to be true?
[00:30:11] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: That's, that's really a good summary and I feel very positive about what he said that, you know, you get out of your head. Easier said than done. And public speaking is very anxiety producing [laughs] process.
[00:30:21] Hiromi: [laughs]
[00:30:21] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: I think that, um, introverts can make incredible public speakers but you have to learn techniques.
[00:30:27] Hiromi: Sure.
[00:30:27] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: In the Introverted Leader, I came up with this process and model...
[00:30:30] Hiromi: Yeah.
[00:30:30] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: ... because I had written the first draft to the manuscript, my editor said, "You need a model." I'm like, "What do I need a model for?" But I was so glad that he pushed me to do a model because what we came up with is four steps, like the four P's. Prepare, presence, push, and then practice.
[00:30:45] Hiromi: Mkay.
[00:30:45] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: So in terms of public speaking, you need a good speech. I mean, you gotta have something that's well designed, that's got flow to it. You got to prepare. What's the message you want people to leave with? That's all very important. It's like the script in a movie. It's not a good movie without a good script. So you can prepare the script, but then you could get there and it's never gonna be exactly like you visualized it.
[00:31:06] When I first started, I was so nervous when things didn't go totally right. But I think once you can let go of that pass and just like, okay, I did my preparation. Now I just have to be in the present.
[00:31:17] Hiromi: Gotcha.
[00:31:17] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: So, the next P is presence and that's kind of what you're talking about with Chris. It's like, being in the moment and you can tell when somebody's telling like a story and they're just saying it almost like they were there, you know? Picking up on your audience and having, like you mentioned, the conversation with them. You look at people's eyes and you connect with that one person like he was doing. Like, focusing on your audience.
[00:31:41] Hiromi: Yeah.
[00:31:41] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: That's what people want. You need to alive. When I first started public speaking, I was like trying to look at these models of speakers that I admired, but they were very stiff, they memorized their whole speech. But that's not me. I don't speak like that and once I realized that, as a speaker, it freed me up a lot to be more myself. And I try to coach my introverted clients that you have to be you.
[00:32:03] Hiromi: Right.
[00:32:04] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: And then, the push part of it is really stretching and that's going out of your comfort zones. And I'm sure Chris is doing this, too. So maybe you tell a little bit of a different story and maybe it doesn't go that well. That's okay.
[00:32:16] Hiromi: Mm-hmm.
[00:32:17] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: Yeah, but with public speaking, you really have to keep it fresh for the audience, but also yourself. That's how you get better.
[00:32:23] Hiromi: Right.
[00:32:23] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: And then practice. You continually refine your skills. Like Jerry Seinfeld. Why should he keep doing comedy? It's so rich, you know?
[00:32:31] Hiromi: Yeah.
[00:32:31] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: Probably he enjoys it but also he said he goes on the road to keep that muscle going. So that's what we do and we get better and better and I think the introvert temperament and the preparation they do really does make them great speakers.
[00:32:44] Hiromi: Those are some really good tips. You know, I think, as you mentioned earlier, introverts can have the tendency to overthink things sometimes. You know, Chris was observing that our desire for perfection can sometimes stand in the way of doing anything at all. Where do you find that balance between preparation and practice? As you've defined them.
[00:33:03] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: Yeah. You've gotta get out there and just do it. Look for opportunities to do it. You tell your manager, "I'm gonna do a brief report on the training I just went to." Just like, to get over that 'cause you gotta practice it.
[00:33:14] I'll tell you a quick antidote, it's the same antidote I was talking about. [inaudible 00:33:19] is very introverted and when he was working in the office in San Francisco, he took a bus in I think and he said, you know, everybody had their earphones in and was like, you know, in their own world. He said, "And what I was doing was thinking about, okay, what are the meetings I have today? What is it that I want to achieve in those meetings? What is it I wanna learn?" You know, he asked himself a few questions...
[00:33:40] Hiromi: Yeah.
[00:33:40] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: ... to get himself kind of ready and I remember all of us who work with him were so prepared and that's why he had the respect of us. Why he built a very successful publishing company.
[00:33:50] Hiromi: Oh, yeah.
[00:33:51] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: And part of that is, you know, the fact that he did constantly refine and practice and prepare. So again, using all of those skills.
[00:34:00] Hiromi: Yeah.
[00:34:00] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: So what have you seen with Chris? Like, he's a successful speaker now then?
[00:34:04] Hiromi: Yes. Yeah.
[00:34:05] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: Yeah.
[00:34:05] Hiromi: And, you know, I see traits in him that I'm like, "Wow! I, I wish I had some of those qualities."
[00:34:10] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: Mm-hmm.
[00:34:10] Hiromi: But, you know, he says the same thing. That he felt that way at one time and...
[00:34:13] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: Yep.
[00:34:14] Hiromi: ... and that actually really made me think about something that I've heard you mention in other interviews, Jennnifer, which is the statement that Carl Jung made about how you're introverted and extroverted tendencies can actually flip halfway through life. Is that right?
[00:34:26] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: He wrote about that. Right. And that always stuck with me for years 'cause I noticed that in myself.
[00:34:32] First of all, he said nobody's a pure introvert which I think is great. And he said that, yeah, in the second half of life we do kind of move to the other side. We don't completely change, but we become more nuanced and I think part of that is just experience, you know? Part of what we're involved with right now, I'm working on a project on quiet men that you might be interested in roaming...
[00:34:53] Hiromi: Oh, yeah.
[00:34:53] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: ... with men who have been brought up Asian American and some of them have been taught, you know, their culture says, "You shouldn't be the loudest one in the room." You know, people were labeled as shy, which was seen as a very pejorative term, like, you know?
[00:35:06] Hiromi: Right.
[00:35:06] Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD: It was not a positive and they don't see themselves as shy anymore. It's really key with all of this to keep learning and to keep developing. We get better at it as we get older because we've had more experience.
[00:35:23] Hiromi: Well thanks so much to Dr. Kahnweiler for sharing some of her expertise with us this week. If you'd like more resources on harnessing the power of introverts in your organization, be sure to visit her website: jenniferkahnweiler.com
[00:35:36] Chris has shared with us some invaluable tips of his own on his reaching his full potential and engaging audiences. In our next installment in the series, he describes how the right questions lead to his discovery of a new education platform.
[00:35:49] Chris Do: It's like either school is failing you, or maybe we've started to figure out a way to teach that makes it work for people.
[00:35:56] Hiromi: We'll also be speaking with a senior marketing and communications executive at Cisco to discover how the value of involvement effects decisions even at a Fortune 100 company.
[00:36:06] Be sure to subscribe so you'll be with us next time on Reach.
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