How Introverts Can Use Their Natural Gifts to Win in the Workplace
The gregarious and assertive extrovert is being praised to the heights of royalty in today’s workplace. So it’s not a surprise that introverts feel the need to stifle their true personalities in order to be accepted. Let’s face it. Your workplace bonus or promotion may be linked to your ability to swiftly communicate your ideas in a group setting. You have to glide through a large room with networking charisma. Showing initiative usually means promptly raising your hand for stretch projects and leadership opportunities. So, the pressure to behave like an extrovert in order to prove your worth is huge. It just makes you want to crawl up in the nearest corner and pray for a professional makeover.
Don’t fret. You don’t need a cure for your introversion ways. You just need more confidence in who you are and how you can add value.
Introverts are known for their great listening skills, poignant questions, thoughtful responses, and gifted writing abilities. These are all natural gifts that can help less outgoing individuals win in the workplace. So don’t stress about the qualities that make you incomparable to your extroverted peers. Instead, embrace the unique traits that you bring to the table. You’ll see a huge difference in your work results.
Here are five ways how introverts can use their natural gifts to win in the workplace:
1) Network with a Purpose
Does the thought of attending a large networking event and passing your contact information to hundreds of people drain your energy? Don’t do it. Well, not all the time. Focus on making a few deep and meaningful connections. Focus on creating a networking plan and set goals. Take the initiative to set up one-on-one meetings with individuals in your workplace. During these meetings, take copious notes on things that are said so that you can refer to them later. Once you finish your first meeting, follow up with a thank you note and actions that you plan to take as a result of the meeting. Having a plan and a purpose will make your networking experience more rewarding.
2) Join Professional Organizations
Find your professional tribe. When introverts surround themselves with like-minded individuals and meaningful growth opportunities, they have a better chance of thriving. Once you join these groups, showcase your affiliation by wearing or using branded materials that display your organization. This will ignite a lot of curiosity in the office and give you a chance to educate others about your professional interests and allow you to build your expertise and gain credibility. When the company is seeking expert advice on your topic of interest, don’t be surprised if you get the phone call to share your ideas.
3) Be Prepared with Good Questions
Have you ever attended a seminar or company presentation when the presenter ended by saying, “Does anyone have any questions?” The long dreadful pause may cause awkwardness, giving you the chance to ask a thoughtful question and shine among your peers. Prepare yourself for these moments by reviewing the speaker list and topic in advance. Use this information to ask insightful questions.
To enhance the quality of the questions, integrate the speaker’s personal experiences that were delivered in the presentation into the question. For example: “What challenges keep you up at night?” or “How has your roles and responsibilities changed since you first started this job?” Your question will get you noticed by colleagues and will immediately allow you to raise your professional reputation.
4) Present on a Topic you are Comfortable With
While extemporaneous speaking assignments might not be up your alley, find ways to deliver a speech about a topic you are interested in or have special knowledge about that others may need help with. Delivering a presentation gives you the time to organize your thoughts and share it in the most meaningful way to participants. Need to build the courage to speak in front of a group? Go to a Toastmasters club and practice your skills in a safe learning environment before you deliver the presentation at work.
5) Create Thoughtful Objectives and Performance Reviews
Your attention to detail will serve you well and make your boss’s job a lot easier when it comes to your year-end performance review. Keep a running list of projects that you’ve completed, and particularly note any initiatives or responsibilities you’ve taken outside of your formal job description. Identify people that you have collaborated with. Use your writing skills to remind your employer why you are a valuable employee.
And remember, as an introvert, you have some pretty good company:
Editors note: Welcome to Charlene Rhinehart! Charlene is the newest member of the Ms Career Girl columnists. Be sure to read all her future articles on Ms Career Girl!