Even though it appears that the world of extroverts is slowly shifting their actions toward giving introverts some credit, a lot of corporations are still far off from reaching an equality between the two types of people. Introverts may be respected for the work they are doing and they usually get the proverbial pat on the shoulder.
However, extroverts are still the ones who are in the spotlight and get most of the recognition. Because of their very nature, the employees who are more subdued are widely still believed to lack a part of a personality that is geared for career success in today’s world.
Most introverts have experienced being overlooked, ignored, and labeled as not being a team player, and it does hurt. This is especially true when they are surrounded by gregarious people who are over-confident and have little to no understanding of what makes you different, and that this is not necessarily a bad thing.
Building a successful career is not something that comes easily for anyone, but for someone who is more of a wallflower, it can feel full of challenges and hurdles. They are required to leave their comfort zone and get noticed above a world of show-offs.
According to success and motivation consultant Sam Zherka, “The absolute best career success tip for an introvert is to find a great career match, do what comes naturally and what you love doing, and be motivated to win by eating, drinking, living, breathing your career. Success is a dream, an ambition, a lifestyle, which applies equally to introverts as it does to extroverts. Just ask Bill Gates, the world’s most famous introvert.”
Here are 6 steps that all introverts can take so that they can better stand up, measure up, and be heard in their career.
There is a lot of research, books, and studies on the science of smiling. While it is not quite clear why people smile, the simple act of doing so is thought to bring very positive effects on our bodies and our minds when we regularly practice it.
Some scientists even say it can give us a sort of short term high. However, even more importantly in a corporate environment, smiling is one of the main aspects of extroversion. Smiling can assist introverts in appearing more social, approachable, and upbeat. Besides, who wouldn’t benefit from a better mood? It is not even hard to do – it just takes practice.
Be aware of your body language
We have all heard it said that eye contact, straight posture, and a head which is held high are all signs that you are confident. It also is a great way to make a good first impression and to get you noticed, leading to that career success you want. Research supports the thinking that non-verbal communication, in the form of gestures and posture, makes up the biggest part of how others see us. Even more importantly, it is related to self-assurance and self-respect.
Even though we do not need to show off, we still can demand appreciation from others and assert that we are talented at what we do and we mean business. Remember, you won’t become invisible if you slouch, but it does make you look insecure. Outward confidence doesn’t come naturally to introvert personalities. However, changing your physical stature is a step in the right direction to changing that.
Be happy with you
Do not be ashamed of who you are. Many times, introverts are made by society to feel bad for the way they are. This is what makes up a huge part of who you are and your personality. It is not a flaw. You can instead look at things you struggle with and ask yourself how you can improve in these areas.
Perfection is not needed, but if you are continually making improvements to make your interactions with others at the workplace easier, that is what is important.
Talking too fast, paying special attention to your tone of voice, and articulating your words will make a long-lasting impression. For most people who are more solitary, the other big problem is the fear of speaking in public and being the center of attention. However, if you do not speak up and voice your ideas, how will they ever get noticed?
The key is preparation. Take time to consider any ideas you have and talk with a colleague about them ahead of the meeting. This will give you more confidence when it comes to sharing the idea with a room full of coworkers. Also, keep focused and alert in the meeting so you know all the topics that are being discussed and you can contribute your own opinions if you need to do so.
Advocate for yourself
Ensure you are communicating with your manager on a regular basis, both by email and face-to-face interaction. You should also build relationships with other people in the business who are influential. Get involved in discussions in online forums and social media about industry topics as well.
Be a leader
Since introverts tend to like working alone, this may come as a surprise. However, they do possess several qualities of a good leader. These include remaining calm, thinking before they speak, and expressing themselves in writing.
It is not easy being an introvert in a world dominated by extroverts. Striving for career success in this kind of environment is even more challenging. The silver lining, however, is that the world is not static. The opinions of the public have begun to shift and research keeps telling us that these more reserved people perform better and are more reliable in a lot of cases, plus are more creative than their extroverted counterparts.
Until this shift is complete, you can exercise some social introvert sills, which align with your personality type still, but can help you reap the benefits of the favoritism of society for extrovert personalities. With a bit of practice, others will appreciate your skills and personalities you have to offer.
This post is part of our contributor series. The views expressed are the author's own and not necessarily shared by TNW.