By: Callie Walker
You’ve probably heard and read a lot about introverts. You might even BE an introvert. But are you taking enough action to engage your association’s introverts?
If not, it might be time to offer a few new outlets/opportunities. In fact, here are three specific ways to engage your association’s introverts:
1. Provide them with quiet time/spaces at your meetings and events
It’s a common misconception that introverts don’t like being around people. That’s not true. Rather, introverts just need time alone to recharge. Extroverts get their energy from being around people. Introverts, on the other hand, sometimes feel drained after being around people. They get their energy from spending time alone.
That said, make sure you’re tapping into those needs at your association’s next event. If you have an annual meeting or conference - something that lasts a full day or more - consider having a quiet room where attendees (and your introverted members in particular) can go and relax. This will allow them to engage with your association while still feeling comfortable and true to who they are.
2. Provide them with individual volunteer opportunities
Often, volunteer opportunities are presented in groups. For example, committees. Committees are ongoing and group-oriented - and sometimes, that can be unappealing to your introverted members.
But that’s not to say your introverted members don’t want to volunteer. They do, so just make sure you're providing them with individual opportunities. These could be things like writing*, planning, handling administrative tasks, etc. The more opportunities you provide, the more opportunities they’ll have to get involved.
(*Note: Introverts are often great writers. They’re deliberate communicators and like to put time and thought into what they’re saying. That said, take advantage of that at your association. Encourage your members to write copy for your newsletter, your blog, your online social community, etc. We bet you’ll see some traction.)
3. Provide them with online outlets and platforms to speak out
We all know it’s easier - and less intimidating, for sure - to talk online than it is to talk in front of a big group of people, especially if those are people you don’t really know. Again, turn that into an opportunity for your association. Set up social media accounts and an online social community where your introverted members can go and speak out/meet others. This can be a starting point for them to meet people and engage. Then, when they’re at events, they can more comfortably chat with others, particularly if they’ve interacted with those people a few times prior.
At the end of the day, engaging your introverted members is all about respecting their likes and personal preferences. The more opportunities you provide that are in line with those preferences, the more engagement you’re likely to see all around.
Want more tips for engaging your members, regardless of whether they’re introverts or extroverts? Check out our free guide, Membership Engagement for Small-Staff Associations, below!