For an introvert navigating a workplace, working by yourself is often the most productive. But in companies full of introverts, extroverts and even ambiverts (someone who is both), it can get difficult to manage day-to-day workflow.
For some introverts, expressing your opinions in a meeting, mingling during office gatherings and even asking your manager for a raise can get tricky, says career and communications coach Fiona Bryan of Toronto.
And for any introvert who may feel like they don’t belong in a particular career or workplace, Bryan says it’s all about putting yourself out there and practicing your intentions.
And even though there may be jobs which may seem more suitable for extroverts, Bryan says introverts can work just about anywhere.
However, she says introverts tend to exceed in engineering, software development, gaming, video editing or producing, mechanics, accounting, among others.
Below, Bryan shares her tops tips on how introverts can navigate their workplace, stand out in a crowd and get the credit they deserve.
When it comes to networking events or mingling with clients, Bryan says most extroverts want to be the life of the party. But for introverts (who don’t even want to be there), it can be hard to start conversations with strangers. Before going to the event, Bryan suggests coming up with four to five questions to ask people and allow someone else in the group to pick up the conversation.
If you are looking for a job, do your research — a skill introverts are already good at. When you approach a potential employer, ask about any recent news involving to the company, or an initiative that really excites you. This way, there is less stress about selling yourself, and more focus on the knowledge you have of the workplace.
“Everyone has to push themselves to do networking, but introverts have to find their voice.”
All workplaces are different: Some are chatty, some are silent but almost all have a mix of characters. Introverts often don’t want to stand out, so when it comes to things like holiday parties, company socials or client outings, they often don’t want to get involved, Bryan adds.
When it comes to office parties, showing up is better than not showing up, she adds, and while you are there, stay close to a friend or find another introvert in the room — they are often easy to spot.
For the most part, introverts tend to choose careers that don’t require much public speaking, but if you are ever put in that position, Bryan says professional help can be useful. There are a ton of workshops, seminars, webinars and even improv classes that will help you lose your nerves and improve public speaking skills.
And like anything in life, practice makes perfect. Perform your presentation in front of small groups, your family members or close friends, and be open to feedback.
Some workplaces really encourage group work, but for introverts, it can be hard to speak up and share ideas. Bryan adds some introverts even have quiet voices, and when they do want to speak up, an extrovert often talks over them. In this scenario, she suggests preparing your notes in advance and even raising your hand.
“You can also email your manager after the meeting,” she adds. Simply write an email with your ideas and make sure your name is on it, she adds. Most managers are understanding, especially if you tend to be quiet during brainstorming sessions.
Asking for a raise
Most people aren’t comfortable asking for a raise or title change and introverts often don’t say anything at all, she adds. “Introverts are nice people and we don’t like to toot our own horns.”
Before asking for a raise, do your research: find out how much someone should be making in that stage in their career and compile a list of all of your best attributes and contributions to the company. “You have to think about what’s in it for the other person? What value for you bring? Be aware of these traits.”
Whatever you do, don’t go into an interview trying to wing it, Bryan says. Introverts are very good at organizing information, so before an interview, prep is important.
Come up with some common questions and record yourself answering them on your smartphone, she adds.
And don’t be afraid to let your resume do the talking. Talk about your accomplishments, awards, milestones and how much you enjoy the prospective employer.