If you have an introverted personality, work can be very tough. It is hard enough for an extroverted person to survive the workplace, but being an introvert in the workplace is arguably more difficult. Apart from the stress work tends to bring with itself, introverts also struggle with the social aspect that inevitably exists at an office. Here are a couple of tips for introverts on how to survive the workplace.
Starting a new Job as an Introvert
Make those one-on-ones count – if you are an introvert, you tend not to do well in large groups, since people with a more extroverted personality rarely give the quieter types a chance to speak. Especially when you start at a new job, you really should engage in social activity though – first impressions count, and you want to have a good relationship with your coworkers right from the start.
What should work better for you than group situations are the situations when you find yourself alone with a coworker, for example while getting coffee in the kitchen.
Use the rare chance alone with a coworker to befriend them. They will be curious about your background, where you came from, what you did before joining the company, etc. This is your chance to have your coworker’s undivided attention, give them a good impression of what you are all about.
Prepare some interesting anecdotes to share – as an introvert, you are probably not the best conversation partner for small talk. You are more thoughtful, but not one for chit-chat on the latest office gossip. But having deep, thoughtful conversations rarely happens during lunchtime or when you are on a quick coffee break, so you would do yourself a favor to prepare some small stories or anecdotes you could share. You can work those into a conversation if you feel they are appropriate.
Those anecdotes do not have to be about yourself of course. If you read an interesting blog post or article, that works too. Do not feel like you absolutely have to share anecdotes either – having those anecdotes and stories prepared gives you some security and some fall-back conversation topics when you feel you are struggling to keep the conversation going or don’t really know how to begin a conversation.
Find out what other people are passionate about at work, and research the topic – now ideally you shouldn’t have to do this. Acting passionate about something you are not passionate about comes across as disingenuine if you are a bad actor, so only listen to this advice if you see no other option. But if you feel you have no common ground with your coworkers on conversation topics, you might want to adapt a bit to your workplace.
If there is a recurring topic in some of the early group conversations you take part in, you could research that topic so that you can contribute to a later conversation. Obtain superficial knowledge about various topics in order to be able to contribute to small talk rounds. E.g. knowing some players from big sports clubs or recent political developments always gives you the possibility to take part in conversations.
Surviving the normal Work Day as an Introvert
Prepare your Presentations well beforehand – you probably cannot wriggle your way out of a tight situation when you are put on the spot – as an introvert, winging it does not come easy, especially not in the workplace. If you are holding a presentation which you have not prepared well, you might be faced with questions you have not considered beforehand. If you cannot answer them easily, you will find yourself in a bit of a pickle.
Prepare your presentations well beforehand. Try to think of what questions might come up, so you know how to answer them when you are asked.
Write Emails to articulate what you want to say instead of having a Conversation – similar to winging presentations, holding conversations might be difficult if you are confronted with unexpected questions. By writing an email instead, you will have a much easier time to articulate what exactly you want to be saying.
So when you are confronted with a question you are not sure how to answer, tell your counterpart that you will get back to them ASAP.
Writing emails is also easier if you have questions yourself that you would like answered. You can formulate your question very precisely and avoid misunderstandings.
Take time for yourself – as a good employee, you should always be approachable for others. However, introverts tend to be quite content to be alone every once in a while and that is difficult as an introvert in an extrovert world. So block yourself some time where you can concentrate on your own work. Put your headphones in and immerse yourself completely in your work.
Be proud of your work and take credit for it – as a humble introvert it is not in your nature to boast about your achievements. However, you have to make sure that your superiors take notice of what you have done and make sure no one else takes the credit.
You can subtly remind your boss about your contributions when talking to him/her. The key here is to be subtle. Say something like “when I finally closed the deal with [client], I tried out a new tactic – I will test it out in the next weeks and report back.” Show your engagement and show your achievements at the same time, without coming off as arrogant.
It is definitely not easy for introverts to fit in, especially if you are surrounded by extroverted personalities. However, the most important thing for you to do is to trust your ability. Do what you do well, and take credit for it. The biggest problem could be that you do not show your contributions to the company, and other, more outspoken people, get promoted ahead of you. Do not let that happen. Apart from that, the advice mentioned in this article should help you out to survive the workplace as an introvert.
Like this article? Get more delivered directly into your inbox! Sign up for our newsletter here: