Making a mark for yourself in the workplace and building a successful career isn’t an easy task for any of us, but for an introvert it can feel like one full of hurdles and challenges, as they are required to leave their comfort zone to get noticed in a world full of extroverts.
Achieving a successful career can often be held accountable to building an effective personal brand and forming connections with influential individuals in the industry, however for someone who is more comfortable spending time alone this can prove tough.
Outward confidence isn’t something that those with an introverted personality naturally possess, but this doesn’t mean that introverts don’t display a number of qualities that employers look for in their staff.
There are a selection of careers that are better suited to introverts, however there are some elements of any role that may be challenging for introverts such as working in a team or attending meetings.
One of the leading experts on introverts, Jennifer Kahnweiler, spoke to LinkedIn about how introverts can achieve career success and overcome workplace challenges.
The 4 ‘P’s:
- Prepare for the communication and social side as much as the task itself.
- Have presence and stay engaged.
- Push yourself and encourage others to do the same.
- Practice and refine your skills.
Work in a team:
As an introvert it’s likely that you don’t feel particularly confident working in a group setting and are more comfortable when undergoing independent work. If you feel this way don’t suffer in silence. Make sure that you let your colleagues know how you are feeling and help them to understand that you are more constructive when completing work in solitude. When it is necessary for you to give feedback to a group, ask if you can take the time to think it over before reconvening.
Speak up in meetings:
You may have a lot of great ideas, but how can they be appreciated if you are afraid to speak up? It’s common for introverts to keep their thoughts to themselves, but you can work around this.
Preparation is key. Take the time to think about any ideas you have and talk them through with a colleague ahead of the meeting, so that you have a bit more confidence when it comes to sharing them with a roomful of people. It’s also important that you remain alert and focused in the meeting so that you are informed on all the topics being discussed and are in the position to contribute your own thoughts if required to do so.
The idea of networking is an introverts worst nightmare, but it doesn’t have to be as daunting as it sounds. Preparation brings confidences and you can do this by planning any questions or agendas for conversations ahead of the event. This way you will always have something in mind to say when you strike up a conversation with people.
Again, I can’t emphasise enough the importance of preparation. Rehearse and practice your speech over and over in your head until you are entirely confident that you have it learnt. Try not to memorise it word for word as this may sound a bit robotic, but rather learn all of the key talking points that you need to cover in your talk.
Make sure that you communicate with your manager regularly both face-to-face and by email, as well as building relationships with other influential people within the business. You can also make a name for yourself by getting involved in discussions on social media and online forums about industry topics.
Be a leader:
This may come as surprising as introverts tend to prefer to work alone, however they do in fact possess a lot of qualities that make a good leader. These include thinking before they speak, remaining calm and expressing themselves in writing.