Businessman looking in distance

In our professional lives, we meet a variety of people who bring a plethora of talents, skills and interests to the workplace. Some of the skills are natural fits for the team – the assertive leader who delivers, the analytical who flies through spreadsheets, the person who keeps every piece of paper archived and can retrieve it in the blink of an eye – all obviously valuable to operations. As business skills come in many shapes and styles, so do skills and preferences in expression.

Expressiveness, as outlined in the Emergenetics profile, is the outward display of emotions towards others and the world at large. Essentially, expressiveness is a persons’ level of participation in social situations. This spectrum runs from quiet to gregarious. For those who fall on the gregarious side of the spectrum, experience has shown that professionals who express themselves well and frequently are valued business partners. They are able to build from other’s ideas and offer their own in an effective manner. But what about people who have quieter, more introspective ways of expressing themselves? Are they valued by you and your coworkers?

There is a difference between amount of expressiveness and quality of thinking; and they do not have direct correlation. In other words, the more expressive individual does not always delivery the highest quality thinking. Some roles will require a more gregarious personality, while others will be far more effective with an introspective approach. Individuals who are quiet are typically present and absorbed in the conversation. They too can have high-quality, strong points of view about the topic at hand. The difference? They are processing their thoughts and emotions internally, whereas more gregarious individuals are processing externally. Don’t mistake a difference in expressiveness with engagement, quality of analytical thought, or strength of opinion.

When conversing about important business topics, allow for reflection for those who may not be as expressive. Longer pauses may give room for a quiet individual to share their points of view. One to one conversation is also a great tool for an individual to have comfortable space to contribute to the discussion. Consider starting the discussion via email where many points of view can be gathered, with in-person discussion occurring second.

Quiet individuals have as much to add to the professional world as a gregarious people do. We just need to ensure comfortable space and time are available for the conversations to occur.

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