Workplaces are filled with all kinds of characters – some introverted, extroverted and everything in between, each with their own way of navigating the office waters.
But for extroverts, in particular, their personalities can sometimes come across as overbearing, or at least a bit too much to handle for some.
However, what’s great about extroverts, career counsellor Lee Weisser of Careers by Designs says, is that they often don’t need any pushing to get things done – they just go out there and do it.
As great as that feature is in the workplace, they – like everyone else – can use a little advice that will help them shine even brighter in their careers.
Here are some of those tips Weisser, along with Angela Payne, general manager at Monster Canada, have for extroverted employees.
This is where extroverts really shine, Payne says. Extroverts, she says, are naturally open and comfortable starting a conversation with a stranger.
“Consider signing up for face-to-face networking events,” Payne suggests. “These will allow you to harness your instincts and let your personality shine through.”
Extroverts may also excel by joining a professional group, Payne adds. These will allow you to work with your peers and gain visibility.
However, people with big personalities may be tempted to treat a networking event as a party in disguise, Weisser adds. That’s why they need to be strategic.
“Make sure you circulate so you can talk to lots of people, but be sure to connect more deeply with at least one or two people who you identify can help you with their contact,” she says. “Use your sense of humour to engage with others and be sure to listen too.”
Also, do your research ahead of time if you know who’s going to be at the networking event, Weisser says. People are impressed when you know something about them.
Extroverts tend to get their energy from being around other people, Payne says, so they may feel inspired by the idea of settling into a new workplace culture.
“Whether you’re starting a new job, or perhaps switching to a different team or department, you’ll want to spend your first week being friendly, but observant,” she says. “Try to pick up on how your colleagues prefer to engage with those around them, so you can work with them in a way that is respectful of their preferences.”
And while these outgoing personality may love to hang out around the water cooler and discuss the latest news, Weisser says it’s important to keep in mind that everyone is busy with their own work and may not feel as eager to chat.
“When you’re working on a project as part of a team, allow others to contribute their ideas,” Weisser adds. “Try to be patient as others communicate.”
Asking for a raise
It doesn’t matter if you’re an introvert or extrovert – asking for a raise is nerve-wracking for anyone, Payne points out. But an extrovert may be more comfortable communicating freely about the reasons why they believe they deserve a raise.
“Think everything through so you can approach any salary discussion with clear examples and justification,” Payne explains. “Preparation is essential. Consider sitting down ahead of time to make a list of your achievements and strategize how to present your evidence to your manager.”
But make sure what you’re saying isn’t coming across as bragging, Weisser says.
“Make sure when you talk excitedly about your skills and strengths, you relate them to specific improvements you have made,” Weisser explains. “And they should be improvements that truly bring value to the organization.”
Also, do your research so you can come with some comparable figures before you ask for the raise.
The job interview
Before anything, it’s important to prepare for the interview. Otherwise, Weisser says, you may ramble on about yourself and bore your audience.
“Even if you feel comfortable talking about your accomplishments, make sure that what you say is relevant to the question being asked,” she says. “And don’t be afraid of silence; both you and the interviewers may need some time to digest what is being said.”
And yes, extroverts are well-suited to social situations but remember that an interview is different, Payne points out.
“An extrovert may be tempted to talk a lot during an interview, which may give the interviewer more information than they need, Payne says. “Focus on being an observant, active listener. As soon as an interview begins, your interviewer is giving you information, both indirectly and directly, and you’ll want to match their pace, style and energy.”