Imagine an afterwork party at the office. People are relaxed and small-talking like crazy. You, on the other hand, have an inexplicable urge to stay in the corners of the room, and you don’t feel like talking. You just want all this to end and you can’t wait to get some alone time at home. In fewer words, you’re an introvert. That’s not a bad thing.
Susan Cain said it all in her famous TED talk – introverts have more strength than they realize. You can listen to other people. You’re observing. You always think before saying something. You can be a truly loyal person. These strengths are very important in any career. Instead of staying in the shade, you can start shining at the workplace.
Why Do Introverts Have Trouble with Self-Confidence?
Introverts are not necessarily less self-confident than extroverts. The trouble is; they appear to be less confident because of their reserved attitude. When an extrovert sees you’re quiet most of the time, they get the impression that you’re not doing your job well. Employers may prefer delegating important task to other workers, who seem reliable just because they can talk and fit into the office culture. Why does this happen?
- Introverts are not really interested in gossip. They don’t understand small talk and they don’t like talking without a purpose. Their withdrawn attitude makes them stand out from the informal office culture.
- An introvert has trouble giving presentations. You’re stressed out for days before moment when you have to stand in front of an audience and present your ideas. You don’t feel comfortable speaking, which is why you don’t seem confident enough.
- Joe Galanis, who works as a career advisor at Careers Booster, explains that introverts can be great team players, but they don’t promote themselves as leaders of the group. “From my experience, I can tell that introverts are great at teamwork. They don’t try to tell other people what to do, unless they are being asked for advice. Even when they are giving advice, they are making sure not to hurt other people’s feelings. That’s a great characteristic of a team player, but it’s not something that makes you stand out as the leader of the group.”
Introverts aren’t promoting themselves as motivated workers, regardless of the efficiency they achieve. Does that mean that you’re destined to stay in the shade and you shouldn’t even aim towards career progress? No! In fact, you can get better at showing some confidence. We’ll tell you how to get adopt the attitude of a leader.
An Introvert’s Guide to Confidence
Although introverts can appear shy in the eyes of the boss and the other members of a working team, they have strengths that make them excellent achievers:
- Great intuition
- An ability to understand people’s emotions
- Excellent memory
- Attention to details
Do you recognize yourself in that description? Well, then you have all it takes to become better at what you do. However, you also have some weaknesses that need work. These tips will help you overcome them:
1. Accept challenges. Search for them!
You feel peaceful and safe in your comfort zone, right? Any challenge outside of that box seems overwhelming. You have to understand that challenges are supposed to be overwhelming, but inspiring, too. The more you face them, the prouder and more confident you feel.
- Here’s an exercise for you: talk to the new worker. Invite them for lunch during the break, and offer to show them around the offices.
- Stage two: when your boss asks if anyone has something to say during a meeting, speak up. You know you have ideas and you know they are great. Make yourself do this: tell everyone what you think.
2. Make connections
Networking is not easy for introverts. At a business party, they are the ones you’ll notice being quiet and unsocial. You have to change that attitude. The good thing about these events is that they have a scheme you can hack. Everyone talks about the same things, and everyone expects a certain form of attitude, somewhere along the line between formal and friendly.
- Be there. Whenever there’s an event that offers opportunities for networking, don’t miss it. That’s the first step.
- Take the networking challenge: each month, meet 4 people you don’t know, and 4 people you know, but you’d like to know them better. With time and practice, you’ll become a natural.
- Small talk is not that hard and pointless. Introduce yourself, exchange business cards with people, and ask what they do.
You have a desire to become more sociable, don’t you? The only problem is the first step. A simple way to break the ice is to smile. Show your natural, beautiful smile. People will have no other choice but to show some friendliness back.
4. Straighten up!
Here is another exercise for you: try to pay attention to what your posture looks like at different times of the day. You’ll probably notice that when you’re feeling stressed out or shy, you tend to lower your head and curl the spine forwards. That’s not how you expect a successful leader to look like. A confident person keeps their head up, and the spine straight. The good news is: that’s something you can learn.
- Whenever you feel like you could use some self-confidence, straighten up. Research shows that your posture affects the confident appearance in your own thoughts.
- Do some exercise. When you deal with your body every single morning, you become aware of it. First of all, you’ll look better, and that fact itself will make you more confident. But, you’ll also be able to sit straight when you work, and you’ll improve your posture when standing up.
Introverts share a common fault: fear of speaking in public. They will do everything to avoid expressing themselves in front of a large group of people. Thus, they don’t speak up during office meetings, and they don’t like presenting projects.
There’s no other way to overcome the fear of speaking in public; you have to face it. When your boss asks who is going to present the next project, you need to be that person. When they ask if someone has anything to add, be the person who speaks up. You have smart ideas; all you need to do is start expressing them.
Your voice may crack the first time. The second time might be even worse, because you’ll be afraid you’ll fail again. That doesn’t matter. You need to go on and on. Suddenly, you’ll find yourself in a situation when you’re speaking without fear, and you’re feeling more confident than ever. That’s the kind of thing that’s worthy of an effort.
You’re a bit of a perfectionist, aren’t you? You want to present yourself well in every single situation, but you have a fear that things won’t turn out as you expect. That’s why you decide to stay quiet most of the time. Well, it’s time to start breaking that pattern. You’re stronger than you assume!
About the Author
Steven is a career advisor and personal development enthusiast from New Hampshire. He loves embracing challenges which help him learn and grow every day. He’ll be happy to meet you on Facebook, just drop him a line!