If you’re the type of person for whom the very concept of verbal communication—small talk, chitchat, networking conversations—gives you a mild case of the willies, the universe has your back. Or at least Google does. There are hundreds of millions of results on how to get better at chatting up anyone and dealing with the woes of being a wallflower. Not to mention, all of the books and articles dedicated to the sage topic. But every trip, trick, and technique seems squarely aimed at one personality type: introverts. Because when it comes to social situations, extroverts are seen as the winning personality—the ones who sparkle and fizz in any room, spit out riveting cocktail party conversation on the spot, and totally own it in every work meeting.
But I call fake news on this one. Because get this: Extroverts can benefit from communication pointers, too. That’s because even though extroverts may feel comfortable in a communal setting, that doesn’t necessarily make them good communicators, says Bernardo Carducci, Ph.D., the director of the Shyness Research Institute at Indiana University Southeast in New Albany, IN. To give extroverts their moment in the self-help spotlight (yes, sometimes they need it, too), he offers up this smart advice on being a non-introvert and killing it at communication. A masterclass for extroverts on conversing like a pro? Here for it.
Don’t talk in circles
Some of the tendencies that make extroverts so great at gabbing with others can also make them come off as unapproachable. Here’s the scene: At a party, everyone is gathered around a girl telling such a damn good story that everyone is tuned in and completely clueless that their wine glass has been empty forever now. The extrovert is usually easy to spot: She’s having a good time and everyone around her is, too. Okay, so what’s the problem? If you’re not in that utterly engrossed ring of people, you’re probably annoyed by her. Extroverts can get so caught up in their conversations, it can feel impossible to break into the orb of their aura, and even worse, it can seem like they don’t want you to. So extroverts, take note: The next time you catch yourself in a similar situation, scan the room and make sure no one is awkwardly standing near your group. If so, bring her into the convo, too.
Remember that there’s no shame in taking a breather
Another hang-up: Extroverts can be so into whatever they’re talking about—that new restaurant, that yoga retreat, that big project at work—there’s often no room for anyone else to chime in, Carducci says. It’s often coming from a good place; extroverts are working to keep the conversation lively and fun. But on the flip side, it can make the them look like a conversation hog. Advice to the extrovert: Others may know a little something about coffee beans from South America, too. Sip your cocktail and let others get a word in every now and then.
Ask for receipts
Only speaking in statements is an extrovert power move. But it’s clutch to throw a question out there every now and then, too, Carducci says. That allows other people to do more than nod their heads, and even to switch up the conversation if they’re not into hearing about your work-wife drama or that time you stumbled across the most adorable hotel in Bali.
At the end of the day, we’d all do well to ditch the excessive labeling (elite extroverts, shy little introvert souls, whatever). But if you’re experiencing failure in your communication efforts, it’s key to realize you need to speak up and ask for a little advice. After all, you are an extrovert—speaking up is sort of your thing.