When Sociability is Too High On the Scale

  • By Dan Maxwell
  • August 2022


Sociability is the most “visible” trait. So if someone has too much or too little, it “shows” – in either company-wide entertainment or complete invisibility. Either extreme can cause problems. “How Much Sociability is Enough?”is an important question to answer for each position in your organization.  But sometimes introverts end up in roles where extroverts belong, and vice versa.  One always has a closed door when it should be open; the other is always around the water cooler instead of behind their desk.

This time we’ll focus on those at the high end of the Sociability scale, the ones who can’t be missed for their animated gestures and noise – in any situation.

  • When someone asks for specifics – they talk all around the point.
  • When they should be asking questions – they’re telling another story.
  • When it comes time to let others talk (or pause for a breath) – they don’t.

Why? They want to be seen, heard and liked. These motivators make them “a natural” at sales, promotions, customer service and public speaking.  But sometimes they end up in roles or situations where their greatest strength can display itself as a weakness – in full colour. What to do then?

Here are some practical suggestions.  Note: you might have to “talk them into” applying them.  (Better yet, point out how it will increase the “likes” on their Facebook page.)

  1. In conversations INTER-action is important; here’s how that looks:
    • You pause and ask a question now and then; and if someone asks you a question – you answer it (preferably before the story that just came to mind);
    • After you’ve been talking for 90 seconds, you check to see if anyone else wants to add to your thoughts;
    • When someone makes a good point, you pay them a complement – before sharing your own illustration of their good idea.
  2. In (or before) meetings:
    • You bring the facts the team will need (it makes you look good!);
    • You let someone else be the first to respond (they appreciate your thoughtfulness);
    • At the end, you ask someone what you were supposed to remember for next time (they notice you’re self-aware, asking others to help remember the points you didn’t pick up).
  3. In sales or service encounters:
    • You always start with a question;
    • And … you listen to the answer (and don’t start thinking of what you’ll say next!);
    • But what impresses them most is your response – it clearly matches their interest.

depositphotos 65621887 Businesspeople meeting and talking 300x167 1To summarize: highly Sociable people naturally enjoy the spotlight, want to be the center of attention, and are constantly seeking to build or maintain relationships. So when a job calls for a pause in conversation, they feel a strong urge to break the silence.  At that point they have to “tame” their outgoing and interactive style, exercise some self-restraint (in ways suggested above), and for a moment be less visible.

Uncomfortable? Yes. But small price to pay for becoming even more popular!

Next time … “When Sociability is Too Low”.

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