Are You Aware of 3 Mistakes Keeping You in the Desert-like Introvert Conversation?

Is it lack of confidence? Maybe you don’t have an interest? Could it be you are afraid of some failure? Call it what you want but we can often make conversation mistakes because of anxiousness or anxiety about ourselves, rather than not taking full advantage of who we are authentically.

My husband and I took a desert tour in Arizona a few years ago. Some tips on making it out alive if you had to can also help us out of any introvert desert-like conversation. Not paying attention to what we might consider doing differently next time can keep up feeling like we’re in that desert.

Do you have actions you do even though you don’t “feel” like it? Maybe you are thinking of making your bed – you do it, but you aren’t all into it. Or you think of doing laundry and – you aren’t all into it either, but you do it. Well, then you know how to get from the desert to an oasis.

Let’s avoid a panic over these fears.

Are You Aware of 3 Mistakes Keeping You in the desert-like Introvert Conversation?

1. Being perceived as nothing to say.nonverbal-I'm-thinking

Lack of water seemed to be the biggest fear, and death factor for those venturing into a desert unprepared. In a past post you can read about a distinction that anxious is being fearful of what might happen in the future, and anxiety is worrying about the past. In conversations either feeling can keep you in the desert of conversations.

Talking with a super talkative, uber-confident extrovert means learning not to sweat. Instead, remain confident that, our tendency to want to pause before speaking allows us to tap into our reservoir of either knowledge or opinion.

What we might have to be ready to do is either give some non-verbal or even a phrase. A non-verbal via the eyes is kind of natural for us with either looking up or at the ground. Someone who is looking at us would know that.

In the event you feel there isn’t enough eye contact for the other person to notice, pick a comfortable phrase to say. Something you can use all the time. In my moments of anxiousness, and yes I still get them, I say something like, … “Oh yeah, absolutely.”

Letting someone else know you want to think before you comment, is like being prepared for going into a desert with water. Using either of these ways lets the other person knows you do have something to add – you’re using your brain first.

2. Struggling with what to say.introvert-not-sure-what-to-say

You’ve now bargained yourself a few seconds, maybe with the non-verbal look or verbal phrase, and you added to a part of the conversation. You find your small group of 2 or 3 just grew to 4 or 5. Just like desert conditions change, your struggle to contribute might grow now.

Consider a tip like another desert survival tip to rest every 30 minutes.

Phyllis Davis executive coach, The Rules Have Changed American Business Strategies for a Brave New World; the 30-day rule can help us be prepared. This sounds like a natural way for an introvert!

Share some impersonal information about events or interests in your life within a 30-day window on either side of the day of the conversation. In other words, tell people what event or interest happened to you within 30 days before “the day” and what will occur within 30 days from “that day.”

You can just paint a picture of who you are with broad brush strokes. For example:

– You read a certain book. Or you just bought a book to read.

– You’re taking a trip in three weeks. Or you just booked an upcoming trip for the weekend.

You likely get the idea of the 30-day rule. Just plan for this in your mind before you head to your next business or social conversation.

introvert-energy-drain3. Feeling the energy drain out of you.

At first, new actions you take to contribute to a conversation may drain more energy out of you. When my son was hiking alone in the mountains last year I expressed concern about how we would know he was okay? Sure he was meeting up with a friend somewhere but what if that didn’t happen? Yes, I’m still a worrying mom even with a grown son who has his family.

If we were traveling in a desert of conversation we could use a similar personal tool to the tool he invested in to calm my nerves. Although my daughter-in-law says, he got it because he’s a gadget guy. In either case, these new personal locator beacons (PLBs), are emergency radio signal devices that communicate with satellites from anywhere on the globe.

Use your intuition as your own PLB and take a break! Excuse yourself in need of some water, or needing a restroom break or having to take a call. It doesn’t matter what you say about what break you are taking. The idea is to get on your own for a brief amount of minutes and recharge.

Maybe you’ve had times in your life, either business or social, where you’ve felt like you’ve mastered small talk or contributing to a conversation. Bad feelings can morph into confident ones when we take just one step in that direction like we’ve found the introvert conversation oasis.


Your thinking phrase, the 30-day rule and a break away are just three small steps.

What do you do if you have to think a bit before speaking?

How do you reduce your struggle to add to a conversation growing in numbers?

What do you do when you feel the energy drain in conversations?


There are 3 places to learn more about more ways to help you out of the desert conversation and find the oasis. Whether you prefer reading a book, video learning or text/chat coaching you’ll find your way at:

A book, my most recent, for you: Communication Toolkit for Introverts:

Just 3 – minute daily video lessons for 30 days, Introverts: The Secrets to Workplace Success

Expert guidance in community and private text/chat coaching, from free to fee:



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  1. To be honest, when I feel the energy drain in conversations, I think that’s a sign that it is time to move on and that is what I try to do.
    Ken Dowell recently posted…Streets of MilanMy Profile

  2. I moved from coastal California to Arizona 12 years ago. At first I thought I’d perish from cracked skin. We installed a fountain in our house and had a couple portable ones too. I bought gloves for when I have my hands in water, except for bathing! and I was constantly using hand cream. But guess what? I adapted. I still use the gloves and do apply hand lotion often but we don’t use the fountains and my skin doesn’t crack. We adapted. The state wasn’t going to. I think it’s the same with conversations. Focus on the other person. Ask questions. Be interested in the answers. I takes some pressure off yourself. At least it works for me.
    b recently posted…How to Get Your Content ReadMy Profile

  3. Jacqueline Gum

    I always ask a lot of questions of the other person:) First, I am genuinely curious about other people and most folks really do like to talk about themselves. But it is certainly draining when you get a chatterbox! Laugh! Like you, I take a break…go to the bathroom, or pretend to take an important call and do some deep breathing. It works for me…. doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do!
    Jacqueline Gum recently posted…Hypocrisy… Where’s The Justice?My Profile

  4. I think the hardest part for me isn’t starting the conversation, but ending it. I run into this often in networking events. Sometimes the conversation naturally comes to a close and it becomes apparent to both of us that it is time to move on. Other times, the other person will just keep pushing the conversation forward. I usually come up with some polite excuse, like, i”m gonna grab something to drink, so I can move on. But I have on more than one occasion, stayed in a conversation longer than I wanted because I was trying not to be rude.
    Erica recently posted…8 Ways Coconut Oil Can Improve Your LifeMy Profile

  5. I am usually asking a lot of questions when I am speaking with another person. In order to understand and relate as they say, I need to know where they are coming from. Being in sales I am never lost for words, but have learned that is not about me, but about the other person and their needs. I am far from an introvert. I find the negative people drain me, otherwise I have enough energy for both of us.

  6. Like some of the others here, I tend to ask questions about the other person(s) when I’m not sure what to say next. I’m more likely to feel energy drain from conversations when I’m already tired or stressed about something else. When this happens I take a break, or if with a group of friends, just rest and withdraw from an active part of the conversation for a while.
    Donna Janke recently posted…Colorado River Story – Part 1My Profile

  7. I prefer one on one/small group conversations and begin to feel frazzled if many people are speaking at once. I will not fight to speak – if my opinion is not welcome, I walk away. I have done this since a child.

    When energy is drained from a conversation I wrap it up or move on to another conversation.
    Phoenicia recently posted…Kick-start your day into action – my tips on staying ahead of the game!My Profile

  8. Hello Patrica,
    I often find trouble in continuing a conversation with someone I feel is full of confidence. Though I start with some usual questions and queries, the conversation at most of the times takes a boring turn.
    Healthy conversation is an art and it takes some time and effort to grasp the techniques.
    Tuhin recently posted…6 reasons why you should learn to adjust with peopleMy Profile

  9. Taking a break really does work wonders, through there are only so many times one can make the excuse of going to the bathroom 😉 I have a habit of tuning out when someone is talking to me, but not because I’m not interested in all they are saying, but it’s just a way of giving my brain a 30-second reprieve of all the conversation stimulation.
    Jeri recently posted…#WritingPrompt: Loop WritingMy Profile

  10. Like the others, when I find myself lacking something to add to the conversations, I turn to questions. Most people love to be the center of attention and are more than happy to fill the dead space in conversation filing you in on all things related to them. Lol

  11. Hi Pat, I find that when I’m really tired, what I say and what I mean are two totally different things, which can be very embarrassing. I’m much better off being left alone until I recover. Most of my family and friends know and respect this but I have one friend who just keeps talking and talking and…………. The good thing about that is that she doesn’t need me to answer, actually it’s preferred because I would only interrupt her, LOL.
    When I was working I had no choice but to socialize – now that I’m retired I’m finding it such a nice break from always being on. No more forced conversations or those dreaded gaps where no one knows what to say. I could have used this instructional post back in those days.
    Lenie recently posted…25 Unusual Ways With MILKMy Profile

  12. Wonderful article Patricia and the whole time I was reading I’m nodding in agreement! Twenty years in sales taught me how to deal with the conversation and energy challenges, but there is one area I still have to be very cautious about. My thoughts tend to play out on my face like a mini ticker tape running right across my forehead … ‘This is SO boring” “How much longer can she possibly talk?!’ “Is he EVER going to get to the point?” Well, you get the idea. Rude I know, but at least I’m aware of it and I have a couple of triggers I use to refocus.
    Marquita Herald recently posted…10 Simple Ways to Gradually Expand Your Comfort ZoneMy Profile

  13. SafariOnTheBlog

    Hello Pat! for me, I walk away rather than fighting to speak. when I feel the energy drain in conversations, I move on.

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