For the introvert in the workplace caught in a world full of outgoing self-promoters, it can feel like a constant effort to be heard, understood and respected. Corporate culture tends to reward those most visible and vocal, so here are 4 quick strategies for an introvert to insert herself into the limelight.
Put your hand up first
The natural tendency of an introvert is to think before speaking. Combat this by putting your hand up or say, “Excuse me” or, “What about…” the moment someone stops speaking. This creates the space for you to talk before you can stop yourself. Once the attention is on you, you can ask a clarifying question or offer your thoughts on the topic or even summarize the situation from your perspective. Whatever it is, you get a chance to contribute and be heard. Chances are you are more prepared than you thought!
They took credit, again?
Something an introvert often faces is a colleague taking credit for his or her work. If this happens in a meeting, jump in right away to clarify: “Thanks for sharing that Mr. Credit-taker, I would just like to add that in doing this work, we…” Say your bit, whether it’s highlighting the work you both put in, or sharing a result that was not previously mentioned or simply clarifying that you were both on the team. Assert yourself politely and firmly.
Knowing ahead of time that it may be hard to jump in or speak over a group of extroverts, send your thoughts in writing, in advance. Shoot an email with your analysis or questions to the team before a group discussion. This should naturally create a way to bring up your email during the meeting and allow you to verbalize what you have already written. If that doesn’t happen, at least the team is still aware of your contribution and you have asserted yourself.
Request What You Need
Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need. Introverts may withdraw to create space for themselves. At work this can come across as non-cooperative and disengaged. Speak to your manager or team and tell them you are in the middle of a project and will need some quiet time. This lets them know you are aware and concerned while allowing you to assert yourself and share what you need, without it being awkward or difficult.
The introvert journey can be a tough one, but with proper communication and an empowered approach, you can set yourself up for success on your own terms.
Leena Roy, CFA/CPC is a Leadership & Life Coach. Choice over Chance is designed to elevate and empower Mid-level Managers & all Professionals to achieve their highest potential.