Solitude matters, and for some people, it’s the air they breathe.”Susan Cain
Being successful at work is not easy, and for some of us, it is even more difficult because we have an introverted personality.
What exactly is an introverted personality? If you are an introvert, you already understand, but for clarification here is the definition from Vocabulary.com: It describes a person who tends to turn inward mentally. Introverts sometimes avoid large groups of people, feeling more energized by time alone.
I am an introvert, and I like it. I prefer the company of myself and a few select people. I am OK being by myself, and I do prefer it. I am content.
While working, it was difficult for me. I did not fit the mold. I was not outgoing enough; I did not like chit chat or mingling. It was a long-term effort for me to adjust and to become successful.
I was successful because I was intelligent, observant, and willing to work hard by spending extra time and being more thorough. I was polite to everyone and respectful of others. I learned to walk the walk and talk the talk. Sometimes, that made me very uncomfortable.
Many times, introverts are often passed over at work for their more flashy co-workers. Your work has to be very, very good, and you have to be very determined to succeed. If you make your work shine enough, it can by-pass the glitter of an extrovert who does not put forth the determined effort required. You can shine; it is just harder for people to recognize.
You have to work hard and have an outstanding work ethic, but other actions will help you move forward.
Your interpersonal skills should be a top priority. You have to be able to read and understand the actions of others. What is their body language telling you? Their expressions and body movements will tell a story, and you will be able to gauge their reaction to you. Pay attention because this is a tool for you to use. If you want to be successful, you have to build a rapport with the people at the top. They have to feel comfortable around you, but they also want you to be comfortable as well. If you are comfortable, they will have confidence in your ability to interact with customers.
To summarize, here are 5 steps to take that will help you be successful at work:
- Develop your non-verbal communication. – Make eye contact and learn to walk into a room with your head held high. Do not slouch or lean forward or look down; it will give off a negative impression. Walk into a room and zero in on someone, make eye contact and smile. Walk up to someone and extend your hand. Fake it until you make it. Practice if you have to. Every time you get up from your desk straighten your back, stand straight and smile; even when there is no one around.
- Develop your speaking skills. – Again, practice if you have to. Watch other people who are successful and listen when they speak. The words you use, the way you phrase your words, and the tone of your voice will speak volumes. Listen to other public speakers. Go online and search for videos of professional speakers. Take a speaking course or join Toastmasters. I took a college speech class, and I am so happy I did because, my job, as I became more successful, required me to do presentations and give speeches. Practice, practice, practice – stand in front of a mirror and record yourself. Listening to your self can be eye-opening.
- Be more social.- Being more social was challenging for me, and I never became comfortable. It is, however, essential. Force yourself to chit-chat. Get up from your desk and go out of your way to interact with other people. It was much easier for me to talk casually with my customers than my co-workers. It was more difficult to have casual conversations with higher-level people in the organization. The more I cared, based on my perception of their importance, the more difficult it was for me to relax. Remember, they are just people, and they are not better than you. Try to change your perspective.
- Did I mention Smiling? Of course, I did, but it is so important. It makes you more comfortable, and it relaxes the other person as well. When you smile, you appear more confident. It also makes us appear more approachable. Think about it; who are you more easily drawn to when you walk into a room? Is it the person who looks away, keeps a straight face, and is leaning forward in their chair or is it the person who looks up, makes eye contact, and smiles. The smile wins every time.
- Be a Chameleon.- When you are an introvert, it is so comfortable to be by ourselves, but when working in a business environment, it is necessary to act more like an extrovert. It is possible, and in some situations, it is easy and can feel comfortable. As always, practice makes perfect. When you know you will be required to mingle with others, be they your equals or the higher-ups, think ahead to topics of conversations you can use. If you know someone has a particular interest, use that, and if you don’t know, then ask them. Ask them open-ended questions that will get them speaking. The more you do this, the more comfortable you will become in those situations.
Gather in all your skills, work hard, be consistent, and continuously look for ways to improve. Introverts bring a great deal to the table and are valuable assets in a business. Practice and refine extrovert actions and add them to the mix. You can be successful.
In a gentle way, you can shake the world.”Mahatma Gandhi
As always, thank you for reading my blog. Have a great day.