“How did the conversations go?” I asked Julie.
She said, “They went well and people seemed to appreciate the time to ask questions. But boy am I drained!”
Talking to people can feel exhausting!
See, Julie is in the midst of communicating big changes to her employees, and they have a lot of concerns regarding pay, benefits, and overall working conditions – typical concerns for company changes. To help ease the pain for employees, Julie agreed to schedule one-to-one phone calls with her team in order to share information, answer questions and, in general, keep the lines of communication open during this transition.
… and after 10, 15-minute phone calls, some conversations more emotional than others, Julie’s energy was drained.
Have you ever engaged in a difficult conversation, or presented at a high-stakes meeting, and felt exhausted afterwards?
It’s normal, and for a lot of people, especially if you are an introvert, a natural part of communication.
Introvert or Extrovert?
See, introverts gain energy by spending time alone. That means after a series of emotional conversations (like Julie had), or a meeting that required a lot of thinking, planning and presenting (think clients, prospects, executives, boards of directors), an introvert will feel depleted of energy and need alone time to reboot.
(Side note: This does not mean introverts do not like interacting with people.)
Extroverts, on the other hand, gain energy by being around people. That means they may feel more energized and need less, or no, alone time after a series of conversations or a meeting.
While I’m not going to go into the science of introvert/extrovert, you can read more about the differences online including here, here, and this one about getting along at work here. It is important to understand the distinctions between the two especially if you feel spent after a meeting or presentation.
Add to that any angst or unease you may feel about engaging in difficult conversations or presentations and it’s a recipe for a mid-day nap.
Take Time to Recharge & Refocus
So, what can you do if, after a conversation or presentation, you feel like you need a week off?
Take a page from Julie’s book. Recognizing in herself that she needed some time to recharge and refocus, Julie…
- Acknowledged & expressed how she felt. “I feel drained!” is enough to make it real and do something about it.
- Became aware of the impact. If you’re in a constant state of depletion, begin to notice how that is impacting your personal well-being, your interactions at work, and your ability to achieve goals.
- Took action. Julie happens to work at an office with an outside courtyard, so she took 15 minutes and sat on a bench, closed her eyes, let the sun warm her face and took a few deep calming breaths. Other ways to recharge and refocus when you’re short on time include:
- Drink some water
- Stretch and/or breathe at your desk
- Take a short walk (outside is best)
- Read a non-work related book
- Listen to soft music
- Insert what works for you here:_______________________
Finally, when setting up a meeting schedule – whether talking to 1 person or a group of people, include time to decompress. Avoid, if possible, the back -to-back meeting. Know this about yourself so you can appropriately take care of yourself and ultimately become more effective and productive for others.
But I like talking to people!
And for those of you who need more interaction, find a group of folks who feel the same and go out for lunch, a walk or a cup of coffee. In addition, be curious about those who crave alone time. They aren’t ignoring you, they just have a different way of recharging their batteries.
Here’s the Bottom Line
You’re no good to anyone when you feel drained and depleted. Take a few minutes to recharge and refocus, in what ever way works best for you, before you get back to work. You, your clients and your team will thank you.
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