“Inside was where she lived, physically and mentally. She resided in the horn of plenty of her own prodigious mind, fertilized by inexhaustible curiosity.” ― Tim LaHaye, The Rising
Being introverted doesn’t mean that you’re doomed to being the socially awkward person in the corner of the office. In fact, many introverts can be surprisingly social people and enjoy the same amount of professional success as any extrovert. That being said, based off of societal norms, your office may reward extroverted behaviors more than introverted behaviors. To make sure that you keep up with your more outgoing colleagues, consider these professional tips for introverts:
1. Pay attention to body language
Even if you feel like shrinking away to avoid conversations with colleagues, it’s important to sit up straight with your shoulders back, open to the world. It makes you appear more confident, professional and approachable.
2. Challenge yourself to speak publicly
Framing your next public speaking endeavor as a “challenge” can actually help you manage the stress you feel. Even though it makes you feel uncomfortable, improving your public speaking skills will make you a more well-rounded professional. Another thing to consider is that the more you practice, the more normal speaking up will feel.
Smiling can be the secret super power of introverts. It doesn’t have to be big and toothy, just a simple, relaxed smile. Smiling will help other people feel more at ease and comfortable around you, even if they don’t interact with you much. So if you’re introverted and perhaps a little hard to get to know, people won’t take it negatively because you communicate positively with your smile.
4. Learn more about the benefits of being introverted
It can feel like an extrovert’s world, sometimes. But the truth is that introverts have just as much to offer. First of all, introverts don’t have the constant urge to interact with the people around, so they have the potential to use more of their day for work – not socializing. Introverts don’t mind being alone, thinking deeply about a problem and getting work done. They find it easier to focus, listen acutely, process large amounts of information, and think before they speak.
5. Try to create a work environment that isn’t overstimulating
Make your office into as zen a place as possible. If that includes a pair of noise-canceling headphones, so be it. Introverts can get overstimulated easily, so factor that into your office space organization. A thousand bright orange sticky notes all around the desk and computer might not be such a good idea.
6. Realize your potential for growth
Adopting a “growth mindset” will help empower you to continue to improve your social skills at work. If you believe that you’re unable to make improvements and are settled on the fact that you can’t because you’re an introvert, you never will get better. If you tell yourself, “I can change”, you automatically are much more likely to grow and change. Just because certain things don’t come naturally to you doesn’t mean you can’t become good at them with hard work and practice.
7. Get your extroverted friends on your side
Extroverts and introverts make good friends, because they generally complement each other’s behavior. If you’ve befriended a trustworthy extrovert at the office, see how you may be able to help one another out at the office, each using your own strengths. If you need to make an announcement, do it together with your extroverted friend, for example.
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Sources: http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/introverts, http://www.quietrev.com/an-introverts-5-tips-for-career-success/, http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/7-epic-strategies-for-introverts-by-introverts-to-ignite-your-social-skills.html, https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/in-practice/201302/7-success-tips-introverts, http://introvertspring.com/the-top-10-advantages-of-being-an-introvert/