3 Tips for the Office Introvert

The average American office is not a great place for an introvert, and with the current focus on collaboration, teamwork, and open work spaces, it might be getting worse. This is too bad, and not just for the poor beleaguered introvert; companies need a good balance of personality types in order to succeed, and crushing the souls of their most inner-directed and thoughtful workers is not a great way to encourage that.

The good news is that you don't need to change your personality in order to be a success at work. A recent post on The Levo League outlined a few tips for introverts. Here are a few steps you can take right away to be more successful and feel better about your working life.

1. Don't be afraid to plan out what you're going to say.

It's not cheating to jot down your talking points before a big meeting. In fact, we'd probably all be better off if we did. Introverts can benefit from the confidence that advance planning provides, while extroverts can use their notes to prevent them from rambling and hijacking the conversation.

2. Realize that you have something to contribute.

One of the reasons introverts don't speak up is because it's easier to let someone else do it. Once this becomes ingrained, it's easy to start believing that it doesn't make a difference whether you say something or someone else does. Don't believe it. In addition to showing your boss and your colleagues that you're involved in the conversation, speaking up ensures that the group gets the benefit of your unique perspective.

3. Remember that no one is really looking at you.

Most people spend the bulk of their day worrying about their appearance and work performance. They don't have any time off to obsess over yours. Don't fall down the rabbit hole of self-loathing if you misspeak. Remember Albert Einstein's adage: "A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new."

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introvert cat

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2 Comments

  1. 2 Seattle Startup 11 Jul
    When I was considering a role in executive management at my small company, I was told by my CEO that the ONLY executive profile is an extrovert, which I found really surprising: "If you look at ALL of our executives, they are loud. They often stir the pot to get different points of view going. It is something you'd have to consider, to adapt to, to have a presence like that in order to fit into the roles here. Be willing to go head to head and be agressive." I don't think that you have to drown people out at each meeting or go head to head with people to be an effective leader...but apparently at some companies, they expect to you to fit that role.
  2. 1 Turtle 08 Jul
    Back when I was working, I often experienced trying to make a comment and just managing to get a word or two out and one or more of the mob had drowned me out. 30 minutes later when the facilitator would ask if there were anything to add, it just didn't feel right to say it then.   

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