How Introverts Can Stand Out in the Business World
There are a lot of common misconceptions about introverts; we don’t want to get involved, we want to be left alone, we’re shy, we’re quiet, we never want to share our ideas. The list feels endless and is a major contributor to why people who identify as introverts are often overlooked in the business world. As a self-proclaimed introvert, I have experience with this and want to help others like me navigate their way to success.
Unlike some other articles that proclaim to ‘help’ people overcome being an introvert, I want to share how you can embrace it. Being an introvert is not a burden but it can create big hurdles out of tasks others barely have to think about. It can leave us feeling inadequate and like we are getting in the way of our own goals. While you cannot paint every introvert with the same brush, I hope this article helps some people to realise that standing out does not have to be an uncomfortable experience.
Focus on Strength, Not Numbers
Being introverted doesn’t always mean we have an aversion to people. For some, being in large groups (online or IRL) is an extremely unsettling experience. For others, like myself, it is not the number of people that is the issue. It is the energy I have to use up to communicate with a single person, no matter in a group. Some people have a huge social battery that allows them to endlessly network and make connections. If you are someone who feels your social battery drains at a rapid rate then it’s time to change your focus.
Stop trying to make small connections with everyone who comes across your network. A power I have found in being introverted is that I am able to sustain extremely meaningful conversations. I enjoy taking an interest in people as individuals and have used this to build long-lasting relationships. The same technique can be applied to business relationships. Introverts are great people watchers because people often overlook us. Use these skills to learn about people in your network and find unique ways to connect with them. While your network might not be as big as others, you will create stronger relationships with your connections that are much more beneficial.
Writing this article is my attempt at this vital step that most introverts are discouraged from. When we find something to be a barrier, we often look for ways to overcome it. However, being introverted does not mean there is something wrong with you. It means that you possess skills and work in ways others do not. It’s just, unfortunately, people have made you believe that these skills are a disadvantage instead of teaching you how to use them.
Many introverts will try and create an outgoing persona to hide behind. Not only is this projecting a false narrative to your connections, but you are also needlessly adding pressure onto yourself. Embracing being an introvert both in your personal and professional life will help you to discover skills essential to standing out in the business world. Being honest and authentic is extremely sort after right now and even people who cannot relate to your experience will respect it. The impact you could also have on another introverted individual will help you to find your footing in the business world and realise the value you have to offer.
Find Your Comfort Zone
Whether you are an introvert or not, we are always encouraged to step outside of our comfort zone. Usually, this means trying something new and exciting that could help to advance your success. However, many people try to use it to change the core values of another individual to suit their own. Understanding your value is an essential step to stopping this from happening. There is value in being introverted and being successful does not always have to come from being the most charismatic or chatty person. Finding your comfort zone, and the ways in which you excel will help you to overcome barriers that once felt impossible.
If you have difficulty sharing your knowledge or experience in face to face situations, explore other channels that allow you to do this. Write articles, flesh out your LinkedIn qualities and qualifications, record short videos or start a podcast. Not every introvert feels uncomfortable about the same things so find the one that best suits you. By doing this you are unconsciously proving to yourself that you have value and the next time you are face to face with someone, you could find it much easier to communicate this to them.
Set Small Goals
This might seem like the most obvious step but it is one that could come with the most rewards. Goals are not only something to be achieved and then forgotten about. They allow you to reflect on past achievements and evaluate your strengths and areas where you could improve. For introverts, reflection is something we can find hard because we often only focus on the negative. So, start focusing on the uniqueness being introverted lends you and how you can use this to overcome future tasks. Reflection is key to assessing your comfort level and finding those all-important channels to demonstrate your expertise and build your connections.
If you are still finding it difficult to embrace being introverted, setting these small goals will also get you ever closer to acceptance and proving to yourself that it is not a weakness. You could set yourself the goal of sharing an article every week or posting a short video to gain more confidence in the value you can offer your network. The goals you set yourself may seem small but they will be vital in overcoming obstacles you never thought possible.
Recognise That You Have Value
One of the hardest challenges anyone has to face is learning how to be patient with ourselves and this is especially true for introverts. We can feel like everybody is racing past us and quickly become the very thing that stops us from excelling. Being introverted is something you may never overcome so stop trying. Embrace the unique skills of being an introvert and use them to prove to people that you deserve your voice to be heard as much as anyone else, whether that is literally or metaphorically.