Most personality tests work in black and white, particularly when it comes to introverts and extroverts. It’s a common misconception that introverts are shy wallflowers who never speak up and are constantly overlooked in favor of the more obvious, gregarious extroverts.
The truth is that these are just personality traits on a spectrum--most people fall somewhere in the middle of the two--but there are some identifying characteristics that might place someone firmly on the introvert side:
- Being around a lot of people is draining
- Enjoying solitude as a way to recharge
- Tends to interact with a small, core group of friends
- Overstimulation results in feelings of distraction and disorientation
Within the workplace, it might seem like the virtues of introversion are often overlooked. There’s a sense that those who speak up in meetings and dominate conversations absorb attention, and therefore are rewarded more often than in introvert at work. It might not be accurate as a blanket statement, but introverts might try to take on more traditionally extroverted qualities. This can have mixed results...it can be draining and frustrating to try to be someone else.
It IS possible for introverts to utilize their inherent strengths to showcase their contributions in a work environment. Here are some work tips for introverts from Forbes:
1. Prepare in advance for meetings
Introverts need to process information, preferring to consider multiple points of views and resources to give an informed opinion. It also allows introverts to form arguments and counter-arguments, giving them ammunition for meetings where their reasoned, well-thought out statements--even just one--might be more impactful than all the extroverted brainstorming.
2. Write it out
Writing is a common, preferred mode of communication for introverts. Social media platforms like Twitter or blogging offer an outlet to promote ideas or work through issues while expanding networks. Industry publications or a publishing platform (like Medium or LinkedIn) are a more formal resource.
3. Savor silence
Introverts shouldn’t feel as though their need for *alone time* or silence is a waste of possible networking time. Instead, they can block off calendar time to shut the door and recharge; take a walk and reflect; hop in the car for a quick drive to clear their head. It’s necessary for everyone to know when they’re at their best; for introverts, it’s something for which they need to take care to know how to get to that level before meetings or other social experiences.
4. Success is relative
Everyone has unique strengths and perspectives that are important to consider--introverts, extroverts, and everyone in between. The key to being heard and recognized at work is contributing in meaningful ways. Introverts count people like Marissa Mayer, Bill Gates, and Steve Wozniak in their numbers; it’s a personality trait that can yield powerful results when channeled the right way.