Introverts are known for preferring not to spend a lot of time socialising and tend to value humility. Some may also have a lack of social confidence when it comes to things like promoting themselves (career progression anybody?) or speaking in public. How can introverts develop social confidence?
Be aware of your skills.
If you know what you’re talking about and confident in your knowledge, it gets easier. If you’re not confident in your skills, listen to feedback you get and believe it all (rather than just the less positive pieces that most people focus on). Get recommendations on LinkedIn from people, where they talk about how your skills helped them.
Be clear on what you want.
Being clear over what you want and more importantly why (how important is it to you?). If you know why something is important to you, it’s easier to brave it.
The problem is often caused when you’re trying to do something that is on somebody else’s agenda! Trying to do things that other people have made your priority is not normally something that ends well. How can you politely steer clear of those things?
Have a buddy.
Some of the times in my career I have been lucky enough to work with some superb sales directors and other colleagues. They tended to be extrovert, but found my skillset complemented theirs. As a pair we were much more powerful that they could be on their own and, importantly for me, I didn’t have to do as much of the door opening. But spending time with them helped develop social confidence.
Funnily enough this isn’t as scary as it sounds! Up on stage you’re not interacting in the same way as when “socialising”. One is really draining and not always nice, the speaking can give some nerves but gives a great result. Many speakers, actors and comedians are introverts, so introversion isn’t a block here.
Making your career/ professionalism stand out
Introverts generally don’t tend to shout out about their own skills or performance and prefer humility over showing off.
First thing is to accept, genuinely accept, praise when it’s given, then learn from it. Focus on doing good things that add value for others involving your skills and don’t involve showing off (assuming that’s not something you’re comfortable with).
For many introverts these include things like listening, questioning and facilitating (because we are great at listening and structuring). Doing things like this in team meetings can mean you don’t have to talk much, but got recognised for helping the team – bosses loved it…. Overall, understand what you’re good at, do more of it, use other people’s words to describe you doing it.
Protect your energy
As an introvert you are more likely to get tired by too much social interaction. Accept it, plan for it and build in recovery time. That might be lunch time walks, a few minutes here and there, a cigarette break (even if you don’t smoke). What allows you to not get too drained? I called it the introvert hangover cure in this article.
2 negative sounding methods.
- Plan on feeling awkward: Sounds like a strange way of dealing with things, but several people found it works! If they planned on feeling awkward, then it’s all part of the plan, so they don’t look or seem awkward. One person convince himself that the plan was to go up, give his presentation and feel nervous; then everything started feeling better. Having rehearsed feeling awkward, if he has a strange moment or an awkward pause he hardly even notices it.
- Interview planning: If you’re prepping for a job, or other, interview, write a good resume highlighting the important areas; then be ready to answer questions hesitantly! One person reported back that he got the job as he seemed really thoughtful (which most introverts are anyway).
Developing social confidence as an introvert.
These tips will help you with developing social confidence as an introvert, the other point is to focus on what is really something stopping you and not an easy label. Being an introvert doesn’t mean you can’t be socially confident, it certainly doesn’t mean you can’t be good at public speaking. When you focus on your real issues and know your strengths, you can find your real answers.
I would really appreciate three minutes of your time to understand your views of extroversion, introversion and how (if?) they affect performance in business.