In his follow-up blog, V Formation’s biotech graduate, Jose Gonzalez, outlines some useful tips for working effectively with an introvert scientist and how to get the most out of the relationship.
In my previous blog for the life sciences sector – ‘Under the lab coat’ – I described why it is important to understand the personal traits that are common among high achieving scientists in order to foster a long lasting and successful business relationship. The most significant trait, and the one which requires specific attention, is introversion. The introvert scientist requires space to re-energise on their own, hence they need to be approached and treated in a unique manner.
The following key points are worth bearing in mind and will be highly appreciated by the introvert scientist you may be working with:
Go easy on them: There is no point in firing lots of questions at the same time! They need to take the time to think on an appropriate answer. Instead of sending lots of different emails on different topics or ringing them constantly, just send them one email containing all the enquiries you have. They will appreciate being able to break the message down and focus on each question in turn, allowing them to formulate answers that can actually be effective. An introvert scientist usually loves to read and write – take advantage of this!
Give them space: Many SMEs are adopting the concept of an open space office. This is great for interacting, but you should try to ensure that the introverts have a well-defined spot. Respect their space by not interfering with their things and consider providing them with a good pair of headphones so they can isolate themselves from the buzz around them – many scientists prefer to work to music.
Communicate effectively: If you have an issue that can be solved by email, solve it by email. If it requires a call, don’t deviate from the main subject. Face-to-face meetings are not best suited to an introvert scientist, however within a business environment meetings are, of course, inevitable. Whenever possible, let them know the agenda in advance and what the objectives are. Allowing them time to prepare will make them much more efficient. And don’t forget to give them a break after the meeting – they need to recharge their energy!
Recognise their work: Don’t expect an introvert to stand in the spotlight and talk about how amazing their work is. They just want to see their work making an impact on someone, so it’s up to their extrovert business partner to let the world know who’s behind this new amazing piece of technology or innovative idea. Most of the time you will need to absorb the weight of public speaking, just don’t forget to mention them. Knowing that their work is meaningful is the thing that makes them happy!
Introversion is common currency among successful scientists. Hopefully these recommendations will allow you to better understand the unique needs that introverts have and how they might differ from other business partners you’ve had in the past.