Two resources you might be interested in

First up: Salary Survey

Last year I compiled salary and compensation data from over 100 organizations in Metro Vancouver. Hyper-local compensation data broken down by organization budget, and as many position types and subsectors as I could while keeping confidentiality. I released the report late last year but I neglected to share the final report with my website followers. If you use the code IMAWESOME you can get 20% off.

Find the 2016 Metro Vancouver Nonprofit Sector Salary Survey here.

What do purchasers say they find helpful?

  • “Local, current data.”
  • “The quartile benchmarking for non profits of different sizes. It totally helped me gauge whether our salaries were competitive and which positions’ compensations needed to change as a result.”
  • “Salary categories with differing organizational budgets; excellent work for the cost charged – THANK YOU!”
  • “I especially appreciated the segmented data for arts and culture organizations. This will come in very handy for our organization as we begin a transition process for some senior leaders.”
  • “It was a major force in renegotiating my contract with confidence and grace. Thanks for your hard work.” 

Next: Network building for introverts

I’m working on an e-book with the working title The Introvert’s Guide to Building Networks: an anti-networking manual.

If the idea of networking has never really resonated with you, I’d love to hear your input on the draft so far. I’ve completed sections on being strategic, events, and meetings/gatherings. The draft is open for comments–feel free to add yours!

Bonus: Race in the nonprofit sector

Nonprofits have to face biases about who is qualified to lead and why. (Race to Lead)

I’ve been doing a lot of personal and professional reflection on race and diversity lately, and really appreciated the Race to Lead report from the Building Movement Project. I’ve only got through the key findings so far, but the full report looks to be a valuable and timely read. The report is free and easy to download.

Nonprofits have to transfer the responsibility for the racial leadership gap from those who are targeted by it (aspiring leaders of color), to those governing organizations. (Race to Lead)

That’s it! Enjoy.

Not your average public speaking advice for introverts

Microphone
Image credit: Paul Hudson

One of the themes I’ve heard from my interviews with quiet changemakers over the past two years is related to public speaking, so a while back I put out a question to the Quiet Changemaker community via email (sign up at trinaisakson.com) and Facebook.

How do you approach public speaking that might be unique/helpful to quiet changemakers? What helps you speak in public successfully? How do you know when your talk/presentation has gone well? When do you feel good about speaking in public?

The insights are not the usual public speaking advice. Some of it conflicts, but all of it is interesting.

It’s important to note that being quiet does not mean a hatred/fear of public speaking. I know people who are quiet who are great at and enjoy speaking in public, and more extroverted folk who are the opposite. However, there are tactics for public speaking that are unique to the more introverted among us.

What are the themes that quiet changemakers can learn from?

Know if public speaking is for you.

It’s not for everyone. You might love it. You might see it as a learning opportunity, as Sandra shared via email:

As an introvert who doesn’t enjoy public speaking, I don’t actively seek out these types of opportunities, BUT if I am asked to speak, I never say no as it is a chance to challenge myself, grow, and get feedback from others.

Or you might see it as a unnecessary task that you can delegate to others who may be better at this form of communication. Only you know if it’s an activity that is meant for you.

Treat public speaking as a performance.

This theme cropped up very clearly when interviewing quiet changemakers. We see public speaking as a performance. We go onstage and are “on”, give a talk, then are “off”. We’re a little bit outside ourselves when we talk, as though we are seeing ourselves giving a dramatic monologue rather than focusing on the audience. As per usual, we’re more inner-focused.

In line with this thinking, I took a workshop a few years ago (targeted to university instructors) on body, space and voice. It was led by two education professionals, one of whom is also an actor. We practiced using our voice and body in ways that might feel too BIG or unnatural, as though we’re taking up too much space, but in reality look quite natural from the audience. It was a fantastic experience to be able to play with gestures and tone.

Create a public speaking persona.

One quiet changemaker shared that when he speaks in public, he uses a persona that is an exaggerated version of himself. It’s a bit more dramatic, sillier, grander, even stranger than his daily self. For him, this is a form of protection. If people give him negative feedback, he knows it’s directed to this persona, and not his true self.

Speak who you are.

Conflicting with the previous advice, on the opposite end of authenticity, Tony suggested the importance “of being authentic and true to yourself.” He shared his version of a Parker Palmer quote “The best teachers teach who they are,” which probably comes from the true Parker Palmer quote “You are who you teach.” Or not.

Either way, public speaking comes in many forms and purposes, and it’s important to know what purpose your talk has, and what comes most naturally for you.

Are you an inspirational storyteller? (I’m know I’m not….those talks totally turn me off. Bleh. ) Are you an influencer? Are you an educator?

I’m definitely the last one, and am upfront about it when I speak. A keynote I did last year on leadership and volunteer engagement made sure to emphasize that my goal was not to make the audience feel warm fuzzies about the spirit of volunteerism, but instead was meant to provide a new perspective on volunteer engagement, with 3 actions to take the next day using this new lens.

Remember, people are forced to hear you. No interaction required.

Good public speakers know how to read an audience and adjust as necessary. I use this all the time in the classroom, whether to allow more time for an exercise that has people excited, or cut something short if energy is waning.

However, one of the reasons I enjoy public speaking (and other forms of performing in public, like dance) is that it’s not a two way conversation (no matter what the advice articles say). Most of the communication is from you to the audience. Public speaking is an opportunity to be alone, but in front of others.

Also…no interruptions! (Hopefully.) Mandy shared on Facebook that she feels better about public speaking more than group discussion because:

“I do not have to fight for a turn to speak. I will take this over being drowned out by loud group members any day!”

It’s a chance to talk about something you’re passionate about.

Quiet changemakers are often mistaken for extroverts because they can talk a lot, and excitedly, about things they are passionate about, and may even dominate a room (I know I can!)

Public speaking gives quiet changemakers a chance to speak about something they love, and usually people are in the audience because they are interested in that same topic. No need to exhaust yourself finding intellectual chemistry in a crowded room. Yuck!

Book quiet time afterwards, but not right away.

After a day of facilitation, I often go to bed WAAAY early. Public speaking can be fun and enjoyable and EXHAUSTING. Susan Cain has spoken of booking time for herself after her talk, about not taking too many questions or sticking around to schmooze.

I enjoy some Q&A after, as again it gives me an opportunity to chat more about something I’m interested in AND it gives me an opportunity to get feedback on my talk. Also, after a talk people know who you are and come to you, so you don’t have to look around awkwardly to find people to make chit chat with.

How do you approach public speaking that might be unique/helpful to quiet changemakers? What helps you speak in public successfully? How do you know when your talk/presentation has gone well? When do you feel good about speaking in public?

It might be wrong. But is it useful?

I took a class on effective instruction a few years ago. The most powerful take away was almost a throwaway quote from one of the instructors.

All models are wrong. But some models are useful.

I’ve taken this thought with me far and wide.

Some people don’t believe in the MBTI. Fine. (I do). But even if you disagree with the underpinnings, is the information, self-exploration, and tips for interacting effectively with others useful?

I’ve read books that I might have previous considered ‘flaky.’ New-agey books about presence and intentions. Do I believe in pseudo-science quantum physics? Hell no. But are some of the exercises and arguments useful? Oh yeah.

Even horoscopes and fortune cookies, which I believe to be utter shite, I can read and find use in. Did it trigger an idea for an opportunity? For a conversation I’ve been meaning to have? Did it put a smile on my face?

I have two friends who own “The Secret Language of Birthdays: Your Complete Personology Guide for Each Day of the Year.” Just because you add “ology” onto the end of something, doesn’t make it legitimate.

But reading it is fun! And I find it useful.

It triggers reflections, which I love because…introvert.

Here are some gems from my birthday page.

Those born on September 9 repeatedly face all kinds of demanding situations, usually more the product of their own complicated nature than of fate. If they could learn to more often take the path of least resistance, and not invariably the most difficulty way, they could lead much more peaceful but perhaps less eventful lives.

Like when I’m doing something and think to myself “there’s gotta be a better way to do this” and I spend 4 hours researching that thing, when it would have taken me just 30 min to do it the first, if inefficient, way.

There is no doubt that September 9 people are drawn to challenges. Easily bored, they find it insufferable to just sit back and do the same predictably rewarding (or unrewarding) things year after year. Consequently, they are either consciously or unconsciously on the lookout for complex people, places and things with which to become involved.

Like why I’m drawn to independent self-employment, seeking out new and interesting experiences to jump in and out of. And how I yearn for more opportunities to be surrounded by intelligent and fascinating people to learn from and be inspired by.

Life can be a constant battle for many September 9 people against their fears and insecurities. Strangely enough, such fears can drive them on to be surprisingly successful. This is another reason why challenges have such a powerful stimulating effect on them.

‘Successful’ is a fluid term. But I’ve done pretty well on my own (work-wise) the past 4 years. I constantly have to push aside insecurities, questions about what people think of me, and just do and achieve. I love taking something I’ve never done before, say “hmm, I could do that” and do it. Even if that thing is springboard diving.

Building your self-confidence is a big item. Allow for reflection; then find your real abilities and act on them decisively. Worry and few will eat you up if you let them; you alone hold yourself back.

As I’ve come to repeat as my mantra: Spend time on your purpose, not your personal issues that hold you back from your purpose.

Irritation is something you do to yourself.

Yes, indeed Birthday book, you’ve given me some things to think about.

What do you find wrong, but useful?

What’s another way to introduce the idea of introverted changemakers?

So I’m writing a book. Right now I’m identifying and interviewing introverted changemakers.

But I have a problem.

Whenever I pitch the idea to people in the social change/non-profit/social innovation space who I think might consider themselves to be introverts, I often get this response:

Oh, but I’m both.

or…

I did that test and I was right in the middle.

And then they go on to talk more about how they work — and they describe introverts to a T. Is it about not knowing much about introversion/extroversion? Or is it about a discomfort with coming out as an introvert?

Here’s the complicated background. Because I’m a certified facilitator of the MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, the main assessment that covers introversion/extroversion) there is some underlying theory to the whole introversion thing I find hard to let go of when I talk about introversion.

  • Introversion and extroversion is not about how outgoing you are or can be, it’s about where you get your energy from (time alone vs. being around people).
  • Introverts can and do enjoy interacting with people. Often however, we prefer interacting with small groups/with one other person, and we especially like interacting about things that we find important/interesting.
  • Everyone is capable of doing both “introverted” and “extroverted” things. It’s what makes us able to function in the world. However, deep down we have a preference. Kind of like left vs. right handed. Even ambidextrous people usually have a go-to hand.
  • Introversion and extroversion is not about what you do for work, or what your family is like, or how you imagine you would like to be. Again, deep down we have a preference.
  • There is no “I’m in the middle”. If your results showed you as being “in the middle” it doesn’t mean that you are equally introverted and extroverted, it means that you aren’t clear on what your preference is deep down (often because of some of the items listed in the previous point).
  • The Jungian theory behind the MBTI suggests we are born with our innate preferences. While we might develop various skills throughout our lives, and enjoy the benefits of using those other skills, our innate preferences don’t change over time.

So, help me. How would you introduce this book idea? How can I connect with people who are introverted but who, for whatever reason, are hesitant to label themselves as one?

Social innovation, introverts, and ideas

I’m currently exploring the idea of writing a book on social innovation and introversion. I’m reading everything I can find at the library on introversion, and see an opportunity to help introverts with fantastic ideas to share their voice in world of social innovation, which I find is so often crowded with self-promoters and media-seekers.

Susan Cain’s oft-cited TED talk on the power of introverts highlights the possibilities if all of the ideas floating around introverts’ heads are encouraged to come out into the world.

It’s not that extroverts don’t have good ideas. They do. And we hear about them.

Introverts, not so much. A balancing act needs to be struck among the importance of incubating thoughts, the ability to share well-formed ideas, and the necessity of bouncing less-than-perfect ideas with others in order to come to the best possible outcome. I don’t believe introverts need to be in the shadows of social innovation, while the extroverts present the talkative social faces of ideas. Part of the issues lies in North America’s default orientation towards extroversion; the other lies with introverts who don’t use strategies to move ideas forward.

If you know of a introverted social innovator, can recommend a resource, or have an opinion on the topic, please share!

Input wanted on book about introverts and social change leadership

I’ve always thought it silly to hear people say they have a book in them. As if it needs surgical removal (or at least some fibre to move it along). I’ve pondered over the years what I would write about if the whim struck me.

I think I’ve got something. Would love your input. It goes something like this.

I’m an introvert. And most introverts I know have found books and TED talks about introversion to be incredibly illuminating/helpful/nodworthy.

What about introverts in the public eye? People who require the spotlight to advance causes and ideas they care about? In particular, I’m interested in social innovators and politicians. How do they function successfully and healthily in realms that require people, usually strangers, often in large numbers?

I’m thinking to start off by blogging short interviews while I’ll amass some reading on introversion, political leadership, and social innovation.

Any tips or suggestions greatly appreciated.

Extroverts vs. introverts in the workplace

The first time I took the MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator), the results gave me some comfort and understanding. I had been fairly extroverted in my youth, but some long term experiences travelling and living alone helped me to realize the enjoyment I find when I have time to myself.

For those of you familiar with the MBTI, you’ll understand that I’m an ‘I’ on the E-I spectrum. This means that I’m an introvert. It doesn’t mean that I’m shy, but it means that I get my energy from focusing on my “inner world”. I often get asked, to my surprise (and annoyance), “Are you OK?” Apparently being deep in internal thought makes me look upset. What? Am I supposed to walk around with a goofy grin?

The results of an MBTI, like any other ‘personality’ test, can be used in a variety of ways. It’s easy to use your ‘type’ to offer excuses for your behaviour (“It’s OK that I always turn in work last minute; I’m a ‘P'”); instead, I try use my ‘type’ to understand the habits that I default to and the impacts that my behaviours have on those around me.

But enough about me. Here’s a breakdown of some general E vs. I characteristics.

Characteristics of ‘E’s and ‘I’s

Extrovert

Introvert
  • outgoing
  • people person
  • comfortable in groups
  • wide range of friends and acquaintances
  • jumps quickly into activities
  • gets energized by being around others
  • thinks aloud
  • “talker”
  • reflective
  • reserved
  • comfortable alone
  • small group of close friends
  • thinks before starting activities
  • gets energy from time alone
  • processes thoughts internally
  • “(over)thinker”

Impact on the Workplace

An estimated 75% of the general population is extroverted (Tieger & Barron-Tieger, 1995) and reward systems and job recognition are generally set up to value extroverts. Extroverts get rewarded because their work is apparent. They talk openly and often about what they’re working on and how busy they are. You see them and they just look like they’re getting things done. Lots of meetings, people to see, places to rush off too. They’re good at marketing themselves. And somehow, I swear they walk louder.

With extroverts, often “what you see is what you get.” They thrive on the world around them, so the world around them knows what’s going on when them.

But what about introverts?

Introverts…

  • like working in quiet spaces
  • enjoy working independently
  • are reluctant to delegate, but when do, provide little information
  • work well without supervision
  • think and reflect before taking action
  • sometimes share ideas only when prompted
  • listen well
  • appear calm under pressure
  • have good depth of knowledge

Unfortunately, these introvert characteristics can come off in a negative light. Introverts can appear to not be “team players”. They may seem aloof, slow, serious, secretive or lacking ideas. They seem not busy, not productive or not outwardly stressed enough given the pressured circumstances.

Who’s Responsible?

So how can the best be drawn out of introverts?

Supervisors of introverts

  1. Ask their opinion. If you don’t you may be missing out on a whole wack of great ideas.
  2. Be prepared. Give them information (e.g. a meeting agenda) beforehand so they have time to process their thoughts internally before having to share.
  3. Use email. If asking for important input, give your staff time to consider their thoughts rather than putting them uncomfortably on the spot.
  4. Delegate properly. Give them the authority to make decisions on their own without interrupting and micromanaging.
  5. Be flexible in recognition. Don’t assume everyone’s idea of fun and reward is a big party.
  6. Find out where credit is due. Introverts don’t often sing their own praises, so be sure you are thanking the right people when things go well.

Introverted staff

  1. Share your route of thought. When explaining your opinion or providing instructions, don’t assume that everyone else has gone through the same thought process, as obvious as it may seem to you.
  2. Prepare. Request or research information before meetings so that you can prepare your thoughts ahead of time.
  3. Share you successes. Make small daily goals to share a project you are working on, a great meeting you had, or a positive outcome that you have reached. It doesn’t have to be about bragging. Share your passion instead of your ego.
  4. Create space. Whether when working on an important project or debriefing from an intense meeting, find a quiet place.
  5. Share your ideas. Again, make small daily goals to speak up once in a group setting. And don’t fret afterward about whether or not people thought your idea was silly. They’ve probably moved on.
  6. Seek out other introverts. If you have an event or activity to go to, buddy up with an introvert. Use it as an opportunity to go out of your comfort zone and mingle, knowing you can rejoin your buddy if you need to.

In Summary…

Neither introverts nor extroverts are “better” – they are just different. In order to demonstrate personal and professional leadership, understanding self and others is important. Take the time to learn about your co-workers and how they operate.

Additional Implications for the Nonprofit Sector

  • Think not only about your staff, but also about your clients. Are programs and services developed and marketed in ways accessible to both introverts and extroverts?
  • Think even further to your donors. Are solicitations and fundraising activities developed and marketed in ways appealing to both introverts and extroverts?

More Resources