Over a third of the population labels themselves introverts. Many people associate introverted with shy, but that’s not really the case. In fact, it has more to do with the way you choose to deal with stimulus than being talkative or not. Introverts thrive and are energized in environments where they have solitude. That’s when the workplace can get interesting. Being surrounded by people and stimulus all day, every day can be draining. So how can you navigate and thrive?
Networking and conferences
Attending conferences and networking event can be stressful for an introvert. One way you can have a better experience is to look at the list of attendees before you arrive. Most introverts prefer one on one conversations rather than loud group discussions. Pick out a few people you’d like to connect with ahead of time. Go ahead and send them an email or LinkedIn message and see if you can arrange to have coffee or grab a bite. If that’s not an option, plan for small talk. Go ahead and think of conversation topics so you can start conversations and have plenty of information to keep it moving forward. If you’ve attended the event before, you probably already know some people you are comfortable with them. Invite them to attend functions with you.
What is you have to give a presentation at work? It can be intimidating for anyone – not just introverts. Try to think of a presentation as a performance and make it something you prepare for. Practice it so you’re comfortable with the information. Then once it’s over, give yourself permission to recharge alone in your cubicle or take a walk around the parking lot. Giving yourself those moments of reflection and recharging can help you make it through the rest of the day.
preparing for promotion
Visibility is important in your quest for promotion. That can be hard for introverts. If you’re in a meeting where people are jumping in with ideas and questions, how can you make sure you aren’t overlooked? If you know what the meeting is about ahead of time, prepare for it. Make a list of points you want to make or questions you have. You’ll feel more prepared and relaxed in the actual meeting if you do. Don’t be afraid to tell someone you’d like to think about it and then get back with them. If you are tasked with leading a meeting, use this to your benefit and make sure everyone gets a chance to speak or share their ideas.
As you build out your personal career brand, don’t think of being an introvert as a hindrance. You can incorporate a lot of what makes you unique into your brand. For example, introverts are good listeners who rarely stumble over words because they’ve thought through their answers. You tend to be super focused and pay attention to details. Introverts are goal oriented. When you are building our your career marketing material or preparing for an interview, think how you can convey the benefits of your personality in a way that highlights those strengths to a potential employer.
If you want information on developing your brand, here’s a checklist to help you get started.