Let’s face it, we all need to converse, sell, and network to do well in business and life. Humans are gregarious, and we need each other.
While it may often seem like it’s only extraverts moving ahead, just remember perception is just that.
According to Myers Briggs introverts have an innate fear of public speaking and if this is you it’s probably inhibiting your progression. If you can answer ‘Yes’ to any of the following – then this blog post is for you.
- You want to speak up in meetings, but you’re afraid you’ll say the wrong thing
- You dread the idea of someone rejecting your ideas, so you keep them to yourself
- You panic when you have to introduce yourself to a group of new people
- You would rather observe others, rather than be in the limelight
- You feel your quiet demeanor is taken for weakness or a lack of intellect
Here are a few ideas for introverts to succeed in a business world filled with extraverts:
How To Embrace Social Interaction
The following tips will give you back the control so you can converse and socialize as well as an Extrovert!
Don’t avoid social gatherings
Instead of only going to more intimate functions, e.g. a small team meeting, instead of attending larger gatherings, consider how perfect the bigger event is for an introvert. There are more opportunities to ‘escape’ with more people, i.e. take some time out when you need it. When you feel overwhelmed by the crowd or too many eyes on you, pick your moment and take a break.
Introverts prefer dealing with people in small doses. If this works for you, then choose to join the smaller groups at the larger events.
Plan ahead. Who are you meeting with? What do they like? Avoid feeling pressured to come up with something smart to say on the spot. Planning ahead with arm you with content and ideas so you too can contribute confidently.
Also, stop thinking about yourself when other people are talking. This is challenging as we all think about ourselves most of the time, and when we’re not thinking about how we are feeling, we believe other people are thinking negative thoughts about us. This internal chatter has to stop, so you need to catch yourself doing it and change the narrative to use the time to formulate your conversation and responses.
Plus, if you do not have enough time to process your thoughts during impromptu meetings, try writing down your ideas and following up with your contribution afterwards.
Introverts do appear disinterested in what’s happening around them at social gatherings. Of course, this is not reality, as introverts will be hyperalert to everything going on and who is speaking. However, appearing distracted or uninterested when communicating with others can be off-putting.
You have to be interested to be interesting
Or as Dale Carnegie says:
Be interested to be interesting
Therefore be mindful of your body language, eye contact, and facial expressions. You don’t need a big grin to look pleasant and attentive. If you paste a smile on, it will look fake, and that too can disingenuous and may deter people from interacting with you.
Get to know yourself as an introvert – often, career or personal success coaches offer personality assessments. Using the results, you and your coach can develop a plan of action and coping tips for your work environment.
Make use of social networking sites, like LinkedIn, to network with peers in your industry.
Once you have discussions with people online, it’s much easier to meet with them in person.
Introverts are often better networkers than extroverts online, as they have more confidence and can show they value the interaction sharing what they know, have learned and found online.