The “So-What” to Being a Professional And an Introvert
I believe we all possess a certain amount of practicality- even the most off-the-cuff people out there. There are just times when we need to know the bottom-line action to what we hear.
I don’t know about you but when we start talking about being an Introvert, I crave to not only understand myself and others better but how I can apply that knowledge in my daily work.
When it comes to your own professional challenges, here are some of the most common of those for Introverts, what it is about us that creates them and what to do instead.
#1 Issue: Feeling awkward or lack of confidence when meeting new people in “open” network events. (Cocktail party, group networking)
Introvert challenge: When we don’t have a purpose to speak or a context of understanding about another person, our “auto-pilot” behavior is to listen or observe.
Solution: Try to attend events where you have common background or interest. This gives you a place to start a conversation. If the setting is purely social, ask about their relationship to your host since you have that person in common.
#2 Issue: Attend business meetings but usually fairly silent and don’t contribute as much as others. Some people think you are bored, disengaged or worse – have nothing to contribute.
Introvert challenge: Being around people, especially a group of people depletes our energy plus we tend to listen and process what is being said rather than talk. The issue is people must hear from you on all types of subjects in order for you to assert your leadership.
Solution: Plan ahead. Before a meeting, spend time on solitary tasks to build your energy. Find out what will be discussed and visualize the points on the topics you want to contribute to. Ensure you make the points you intended. Realize you don’t have to dominate, simply contribute.
#3 Issue: Tend to not self-promote so other, less talented get sought out for assignments, advice or promotions.
Introvert challenge: Introverts tend to be task focused and overlook the important action of ensuring people understand their accomplishments and capabilities.
Solution: Self-promotion can be accomplished by thinking of who needs to be updated. Think in 3 stages for communication about deliverables: 1- actions to be taken 2- actions currently in process 3- completed projects and results or impact.
#4 Issue: Because we listen more than we speak, we can be perceived in many possible ways: – unengaged – difficult – unsociable – not caring for others – uninterested in leadership – invisible.
Introvert challenge: Often, the perceptions listed are completely untrue from our point of view, yet true for others. The perceptions of others matter significantly in our career progression because those opinions drive opportunities – or the lack of them.
Solution: You can change your Personal Brand with others. In order to do that, you need specific information on your behavior that is creating the undesired perception. You need objective feedback. Once you understand where the disconnect is, you can change your behavior. The real challenge will be to sustain the change long enough that it becomes second nature and is enough to shift how others see you.
If you are an Introvert or simply think you may have some of these tendencies, you need to understand that it can impair or slow down your professional progress. With some insight and actions, you can easily mitigate any issues that may arise.
Bonus Tip: Adapting is key to your career survival, growth and advancement.
Dorothy Tannahill-Moran is the Introvert Whisperer and Leadership Champion. Her mission is to help Ambitious Introverts achieve their professional potential.
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