You are in a video conference and notice that you are slowly becoming restless and increasingly apathetic. At the beginning you had still spoken up, but now you don’t say anything anymore and are no longer in the thick of things. Only after the meeting do you realize the reason for your inner withdrawal: the topic of the invitation was “How can we on the board support you”. The message from the board during the meeting, on the other hand, was: “You have to make more of an effort! You are annoyed. This wasn’t the first time you went quiet in meetings. You’d like that to change, but you don’t know how.
Why are you getting quieter and quieter in meetings?
Get to the bottom of the cause. First, accept your inner withdrawal. Understand your behavior as a kind of partner, as an inner team member* and listen to it: If you feel passive and apathetic in meetings, there is certainly a reason. Is it perhaps because your expectations are not being met, like in the example above the discrepancy between the topic of the invitation and the words of the board member in the video conference?
Overcome the inner withdrawal: Address your problem.
In order to engage and actively participate in meetings, it is important to overcome the inner withdrawal. Address this issue in the round so everyone knows why you become so quiet. For example, you might say, “I’m noticing an inner discomfort in myself right now. However, I can’t quite grasp and articulate the reason for it yet.”
Inner withdrawal is one of 4 unhealthy means of communication, just like attack, defense and irony. They all have positive sides, when too much of them, they disturb the communication and thus also the constructive collaboration in the team. If you want to improve your communication, learn how to better deal with them.
5 Tips on how to get back into the conversation after an inner withdrawal:
- Embrace the inner withdrawal (it has a meaning and want’s to say something to you)
- Get to the bottom of the cause
- Address your discomfort; others may be feeling the same way
- Accept possible support from other team members
- Practice alternative behaviors, if necessary in business coaching
Support from other team members
When you bring up your discomfort, ideally your colleagues will take a few minutes to explore with you the source of your discomfort. Often, even others feel the same way, but they don’t dare to speak up and are happy to have you take the initiative. Therefore it is right and important in every respect to point it out. In a company with a coaching culture, someone on the team or the leader would always ask the question, “What do you need to be active again?”
Learn more in Business Coaching
In my coachings for specialists and leaders, I take a closer look with you at your “annoying team member” as well as your beneficial team members*. Using practical exercises, we go through uncomfortable situations not just cognitively, but vividly. In the process, the various team members are experienced emotionally and physically and alternatives are practiced. This increases the chance that you will be able to redirect an emerging discomfort during a meeting the next time.
And just as you have unconsciously practiced the inner withdrawal for years, the alternative behavior also needs much and continuous practice. I would be happy to support you in this.
*Inner Team is a concept by Schulz von Thun. Triggerd Selves is a concept from OSRC™.