Whether you’re in an all-company meeting or chatting at happy hour, it can be tricky to make your voice heard when you’re an introvert surrounded by extroverts. What’s the best way to work in an environment of extroverts when you’re the only introvert in sight? We’ve compiled the below pieces of advice so you can take ownership of your place at work – and of your professional life.
Find your own space
In order to instill more confidence in yourself, find a space within your work environment that’s completely your own. You’ll be able to use this space to recharge and get work done. Plus – having a space you feel comfortable in will help boost your confidence throughout the day.
Ask for a summary statement
Yes, some extroverts love to chat on and on about this meeting, that project, their weekend plans, etc. To make a meeting easier, get a summary of what you need to accomplish in the meeting beforehand. Whether it’s a short agenda or a list of items that you personally need to have addressed, you’ll know how to steer the discussion in your favor.
Make sure you have a “summary” of the decisions/action items discussed before the meeting ends. You’ll be clear on your next steps, and if the meeting discussion goes off track you don’t have to worry about wasted time.
Make time for one-on-ones
Group settings can be challenging for introverts. It’s easy to feel overshadowed or like you’re not valued when you’re not the loudest voice in the room. Ask your (more extroverted) co-workers to coffee so they can get to know you better. By the end of the conversation, they’ll understand your perspective more and – once they’ve heard your awesome ideas – will make an effort to seek out your input.
Decline after-work drinks
Not typical work advice, right? It’s okay that you need more time to re-charge than your extroverted co-workers. Don’t force yourself to attend events when you need to have some alone time. Pushing yourself too far will lead to burnout, and that’s the last thing your career needs.
Use non-verbal cues
Extroverts respond well to non-verbal cues and can read body language well. Even if you have trouble speaking up, your extroverted co-worker will notice if you shrink into your chair, roll your eyes, raise your hand, etc. Use these techniques when helpful, but be prepared to follow them up with something important to say.
Learn how to self-promote
This is a larger to-do list item, but it’s important nonetheless. Studies have shown that the highest-earning women in the workplace are extroverts. This is partially because they’ve learned to acknowledge their accomplishments in a way where their co-workers notice as well, which leads to pay raises and promotions. Letting your boss know everything you’ve accomplished isn’t bragging – it’s something you should do to better your career.
Own being an introvert!
There’s no shame in being an introvert, so don’t be afraid to let people know about it! Being open about your communication style will help your co-workers know how to communicate with you best. At the end of the day, your office is a team – so help them be team players by letting them know how they can help you.