Are Your Training Programs Introvert-Friendly?

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Have you ever been in a training session where the instructor seemed to be on steroids? Where the bright lights, breakneck pace of activities, or overuse of group interaction got to be too much? Unfortunately, when this happens, there is little time to process information and reflect on what is being absorbed. And most importantly, trainers are not reaching the introverts in the room, who make up at least half of audiences.

The good news is that training programs can be designed and delivered so that the sensibilities of introverts are honored. Consider these three strategies when creating your next live or online experience and watch the engagement of introverts rise.  

Prepare Pre-Course Materials 

Provide materials to participants before the class for people to review. These can be pre-reading, quizzes, and questions to consider. Introverts will appreciate having the time to carefully think about the content prior to the start day. They can also prepare questions to ask in class.

Another advantage? You can cover topics with more depth (another introvert preference) because some of the “basics” have already been addressed. One facilitator I know sends out a series of facts and myths about leadership, and then challenges her class to come to the first class with their responses. Everyone dives right into the material. 

Design the Flow 

Design the flow of the class with enough breaks so that people can stretch physically and mentally. Also tune in when the energy is waning, so that you can call spontaneous breaks and slow down. Introverts will appreciate the chance to disengage from people and recharge.


What about if you are not the course designer? Select activities that can be adapted or deleted so that you are not cramming in too much material and rushing. 

Connect With People  

Make sure you arrive early to the live or online classroom so that you can greet people one-on-one. This will help you develop needed rapport with quieter class members. Incorporate opportunities for humor by using relevant videos, cartoons, and stories to loosen up the atmosphere.

For example, I often share a story about how I second guessed my marriage decision when I couldn’t get my spouse Bill to talk! The point relates to the program about introverts and extroverts getting along. I think the fact that I include a relatable situation, helps me connect with people early in our session. Creating a comfortable atmosphere will help engage both introverts and extroverts.

Want to learn more? I will be covering these and many more strategies at ATD 2017 Conference & Exposition during my session: Reaching Your ENTIRE Audience: Failsafe Approaches for Engaging Introverts. You can also find me at the ATD Store on Monday, May 22nd at 5:30 p.m. I will be signing my books: The Genius of Opposites, Quiet Influence, and The Introverted Leader. I hope to see you there!

About the Author
Jennifer Kahnweiler is an international speaker and training expert on introverted leadership, whose clients include General Electric Co., AT&T Inc., the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and NASA. Her bestselling books, Quiet Influence and The Introverted Leader have been translated into 10 languages. Visit her on, where you can learn more by taking a quiet influencer quiz. Follow her on Twitter at jennkahnweiler.
Be the first to comment
Sign In to Post a Comment
Sorry! Something went wrong on our end. Please try again later.