The Introverted Leader Webinar: Post-Event

Jennifer Kahnweiler | Michael Berndt

Webinar feedback Dr. Kahnweiler Q & A Additional resources

In partnership with seven Minnesota State colleges, Dakota County Technical College and Inver Hills Community College hosted a free webinar called The Introverted Leader Thursday, February 11, 2021, from 11 a.m. to noon.

Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD, a bestselling author and one of the top global leadership speakers on introverts, was the featured presenter. Michael Berndt, DCTC and Inver Hills president, held a fireside chat to explore his leadership journey as an introvert.

The Introverted Leader


Anna Voight, associate director of student life, served as the webinar event coordinator. Anna reported that the colleges received overwhelmingly positive feedback from The Introverted Leader live webinar.

“More than five hundred people registered,” Anna said. “That tells me there are a lot of introverts in our workplaces who have a desire to demonstrate leadership—and perhaps they are looking for support and advice as they step out of their comfort zones to exhibit that leadership.”

Anna added she appreciates the many introverted leaders working at DCTC, including President Berndt, Vice President of Academic Affairs and Student Affairs Mike Opp and Vice President of Student Affairs Anne Johnson.

“Our leadership team sets an example for introverts like me working on the ground level,” Anna said. “They show us that it’s possible to be an introvert AND an effective leader.”

Webinar participant feedback

I appreciated President Berndt’s remarks and his strategies for being an effective introverted senior leader.

I liked hearing from an introverted leader! I thought I was alone in my over-preparation for meetings, interviews, etc. It was nice to realize others do this, too, and that it is characteristic of introverts.

It was helpful knowing that introverts CAN be leaders, and very successful ones!

I really appreciated President Berndt sharing his real-life experiences.

It was an affirmation that we as introverts don’t have to change our personalities to be strong influencers; that by being aware and positioning ourselves we can be better equipped to share our ideas and bring influence to our arenas.

I found it helpful because it gave the chance just to show that there are other introverts who are successful in the workplace and how they used their strengths to do so instead of just conforming to trying to fit in as an “imposter” extrovert.

I felt that Dr. Kahnweiler deeply understood the introvert experience despite being an extrovert herself.

I felt like Jennifer was speaking directly to ME!

Jennifer Kahnweiler, PhD Q & A

Dr. Kahnweiler answered the following participant questions after the webinar.

Q: COVID has made me retreat into myself even more. Working from home, fewer people onsite. I am worried about going back to “normal.” Lots of anxiety about that. Tips or ideas?

JK: I think you are experiencing a normal reaction to an abnormal work situation. Now is the time for self-care, including taking breaks, breathing and connecting with trusted people in your life. Stay in today. Be careful about using work as an escape, which can happen when we are working at home. And there is no shame in getting some support in the form of counseling.

Q: What are some ways to effectively call attention to yourself in a group setting when you have something to say?

JK: Sometimes interjecting your comment early helps—I call it the “first five minute rule.” It can be easier than waiting. Also, on virtual calls try using the chat to make your comment and then raise your hand to elaborate.

Planning with a meeting buddy ahead of time can also be a strategy when you have a lot of talkers. They can jump in and say that you have a comment. Planning some points ahead of time can also give you confidence when it comes time to talk.

Q: How extroverts create space for introverts? (I am an extrovert and find myself not noticing when I’m talking over my introvert friends).

JK: Great that you are asking the question. Pausing is your best friend here. Don’t be afraid of silence. Extroverts will often jump in because they are uncomfortable with silence and not allow a space for the introverts to speak. Also, ask your introverted friends what they think, or if they have anything to add and then listen. Tune into their body language and facial expressions to notice when they might have a point to make.

Q: Should extroverts learn to become introverts?

JK: We all have the range of characteristics within us. While we can’t change our personalities, and shouldn’t, we can expand the range of our behaviors. Extroverts can learn to go within, to listen, observe and prepare, for example.

Q: Do opposites attract or do likes attract?

JK: Opposites do attract just like Paula Abdul sang. Opposites can be like flint and steel that make sparks that lead to fire. They can work so well together and yield incredible results (think Jobs and Wozniak or the Wright Brothers, etc.).

However, they need to work at those partnerships so they bring out the best in each other, whether they be personal relationships or those at work. Being unafraid to face conflict and accepting their differences are two success factors that help these partnerships soar. I call them “Genius Opposites” and wrote a book about it:).

Q: I find meetings exhausting. I think I am giving the impression that I don’t care. That’s not the case. Suggestions?

JK: You should always question why you are part of a meeting and the role you are expected to play. Maybe a phone call or email exchange would be more effective? If you must be in a meeting, consider being the person who suggests good meeting hygiene techniques like agendas and time limits.

With virtual meetings, discuss having some ground rules around the use of cameras. And don’t schedule your meetings too close together. Allow space for breathers and to focus on the meeting coming up.

Interested in additional resources about introverts?

Take the Introverted Leader Quiz (and more!)
View all Jennifer’s books
View Jennifer’s interviews with introverted leaders around the world
Download the Remote Work for Introverts Report

Thank you to our co-sponsors of this event!

  • Hennepin Technical College
  • Inver Hills Community College
  • Minnesota State Community and Technical College (MState)
  • Normandale Community College
  • North Hennepin Community College
  • Ridgerwater Community College (Hutchinson)
  • Ridgerwater Community College (Wilmar)
Learn more about The Introverted Leader webinar by contacting:

Anna Voight
Associate Director of Student Life
Dakota County Technical College