- Do you often get anxious when speaking to a new client?
- Would you rather work alone and not in a team?
- Would you prefer to stay at home rather than attend an after-work party organised by your department?
If you can answer these questions with a ‘yes’, then you probably are an introvert. But, before you start thinking this is a negative trait, let’s look at some of the most influential people of our times who prove that you don’t have to be the loudest voice in the room to be heard.
Introverts commonly assume that they must conform to the extrovert mould to be successful. However, Bill Gates, Microsoft’s founder and philanthropist, is reported to have strong introvert traits but still develops his passions successfully.
He said, “I think introverts can do quite well. If you’re clever, you can learn to get the benefits of being an introvert, which might be, say, being willing to go off for a few days and think about a tough problem, read everything you can, push yourself very hard to think out on the edge of that area.”
Being elected president of the US and Commander-in-Chief of the US Armed Forces would seem to be an introvert’s worst nightmare. But even though President Obama has caught criticism for his aloof personality, he has managed to leverage an introvert’s natural capacity for thoughtful communication.
In the corporate world, with its emphasis on self-promotion and networking, many introverts feel immense pressure to act like extroverts. Such individuals may even worry that they will be overlooked for promotion. So, to compensate, they may go to great lengths to pretend to be extroverts and often end up feeling frustrated by trying hard to be someone else.
Any introvert needs to embrace their natural strengths. He, or she, is usually quiet, thoughtful and calm — many qualities that would benefit an extrovert. They will usually like focused work and be able to concentrate for long periods at a time.
By harnessing their personality traits, they can stay true to themselves and stand out from the crowd for who they actually are and not for who they’re trying to be. Let us look at ways introverts can exploit the benefit of their natural abilities:
Harness your personality traits: An introvert will usually sit quietly in a meeting and listen to everyone’s opinion before giving their own. But when given, it will have been considered carefully and weighed up accordingly before speaking
Preparation: Introverts like to prepare well in advance for meetings and presentations. There can be many hidden benefits here. If you collect all the relevant ideas and facts in advance, the chances are, you will be more knowledgeable and organised.
Show passion: Introverts are usually not good at ‘small talk’ but prefer meaningful conversations about topics which they have an opinion on. So it is useful for them to connect with those who share their interests and ideas.
‘Me’ time: Introverts prefer to work alone and don’t like interruptions. Instead of seeing this as a negative, give yourself permission to take yourself off on a quiet walk away from the office at lunch time which will give you a good chance to recharge your batteries in an environment in which you feel comfortable.
At the end of the day, introverts need to play to their strengths and not shy away from them. Your colleagues will feel reassured and trust you, knowing that you are able to deal with unexpected situations calmly. You may not be the same as those who are always seeking attention in the office, but you can bring a calmness to stressful situations.
If you feel your communication skills are holding you back, then there are coaching and training programmes which can help you develop this skillset, so take advantage of a free 30 minute Discovery Call with Carole so that you can chat this through.
Foster belief in yourself and utilise the unique strengths that you bring to the table. If you truly believe in yourself, it’s only a matter of time before others will believe in you too. Rather than feeling that your introverted tendencies are an obstacle to success, use your natural gifts to your advantage.
Give Carole a call. + 44 (0) 20 8954 1593 or email if you prefer [email protected]