Typical work life can pose a lot of challenges to anyone who is more introverted in nature.
In a society where being loud is often seen as the “right” way to be it can be hard to feel like you’re making an impact at work and making a great impression on coworkers and supervisors. It can also take up a lot of your limited energy.
However, it doesn’t have to be as hard as it seems. There are a few things you can do to survive work as an introvert and still be a great asset to those around you.
Below are 3 crucial tips that can help you increase your effectiveness on the job and to feel better throughout your day.
1. Be Authentic
The first strategy goes against the common advice that is often offered to introverts. However, I strongly believe that introverts should re-evaluate the advice of “Fake it till you make it.”
Introverts have limited energy and it can get easily get depleted if they’re trying to be something they’re not. Chances are that simply doing your job isn’t nearly as draining as trying to fit in and pretend that they’re more extroverted and outgoing than you really are.
While you don’t have to announce to the whole office that you’re an introvert or place a sign on your desk, it’s a good idea to let at least a few of your closest co-workers in on your secret. It’s important to be authentic and not try to hide who you really are.
People are talking more and more about the differences between extroverts and introverts these days. Although it’s happening slowly, understanding is increasing. Your coworkers may perfectly understand what you’re going through and that you have different needs as an introvert. Some of them may even be introverts as well.
By letting people know that you’re introverted by nature, they may just accommodate your needs after all. They may be a bit more understanding if you don’t speak up in every single meeting or if you don’t want to go out for drinks after work.
2. Pick Your Battles
The next thing you need to do to survive your work environment as an introvert is to start picking your battles wisely. You may not always have the energy to be your most “social self”, and the truth is that you don’t always have to be. If being extroverted and outgoing all the time isn’t your nature, don’t try to force it.
However, it can be a great idea to weigh each social function or work event strategically. Decide which events or meetings are the most crucial to your success in the workplace and which will give you the best returns for your social efforts. Then, if you have it in you to muster up the energy for just a little while, let it happen.
Chances are that there are some workplace functions or meetings that are more important than others. Make a point to speak up and be fully involved during the moments that matter the most.
Follow the 80/20 Rule and know that most of your “social image” and effectiveness in the workplace can be boosted by participating and showing your most social side to others when it really counts.
The key is to find a balance and discover for yourself what the small actions are that make the most impact in the workplace. By pushing yourself just a little bit when it matters, you may be able to keep to yourself a bit more during the remaining parts of your day.
3. Make Peace With Networking But Take it Slow
If you’re an introvert, chances are that you hate networking and avoid it like the plague. However, you may have missed out on some opportunities in the past because of your inability to schmooze with the rest of them. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to make networking a bit easier on yourself.
As mentioned above, you need to pick your battles. It’s best not to stress yourself out too much about every single networking event or opportunity that comes up. However, pick which networking opportunities can’t be missed and give those moments your all.
When it comes time to be in “networking mode,” don’t worry. You don’t have to be as extroverted as you probably think. You don’t have to shake hands with every person in the room. It’s perfectly fine to only meet a smaller amount of people or to have conversations with a few people that you met previously.
In fact, as an introvert, you likely have a better ability to get to know somebody on a deeper level and may dread “small talk”. Use this to your advantage!
While extroverts may talk to everyone in the room, they often only get to know them on the surface level. Focus your efforts on getting to know a few people on a deeper level instead.
Believe it or not, being an introvert in the workplace doesn’t have to make your job difficult or your career goals more difficult to achieve. By following the tips above you’ll have the best chance at making the most of your time in the workplace without being dishonest or overwhelming yourself by pretending to be an extrovert.
Accept yourself and believe in what you have to offer those around you as an introvert. If you do, you may be surprised at how effective and at ease you become.