How Introverts Can Succeed in the Business World

Nearly one-third to one-half of all people identify as introverts. Here are tips from HR professionals that identify as introverts and advice for excelling in their careers.

  • Prepare and practice. Introverts usually like to think things through before speaking. That’s why practicing before a big meeting or interview is a great idea, to ensure that you have the right words ready at the right time. Invest in the time to do homework and thoroughly prepare before meetings and presentations.
  • Enlist allies. Share your ideas with colleagues before your meeting, in case you are unable to clearly express yourself in the meeting. Your allies can speak up and help endorse your thoughts and message.
  • Follow up later. Even with the benefits of planning and allies, sometime introverts realize that they weren’t able to express themselves clearly at a meeting or an event. In that case, you should remember that it’s never too late to let your voice be heard. Approach colleagues and say, “After the meeting, I thought of this option/solution….” In this way, you can manage both your contribution and your introverted side.
  • Be forthcoming. Some experts say that being upfront about their introverted nature can take some pressure off them and make other’s expectations less likely to expect you to immediately engage. There’s another added benefit – this can help you “find your tribe” as other introverts may approach you and share their insights into themselves and how they’ve been successful.
  • Connect with peers. Introverts can benefit by joining local associations for peers in their profession. Social media can also help introverts network and share resources on their own terms. Attending in-person parties and networking events? A good tip for introverts and shy people is to show up a little early. This means that you can avoid walking into a crowded room by yourself. Instead, you’ll be more likely to initiate a one-on-one conversation with another early arriver – who is probably also an introvert!
  • Lead by listening. Introverts are usually excellent listeners, which is also a great way to engage others. Learn about their interests and try to find a common ground. Then you can have a conversation that is of value. Also, make sure that you make eye contact, so people know that you are focusing on them.
  • Embrace your inner extrovert. But don’t get too hung up on labels. Most people are actually a blend of “extrovert” or “introvert,” according to Carl Jung, the psychologist who coined the terms. Each personality type has strengths and weaknesses, and all types can learn from each other.

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