It is estimated that approximately 30-50% of the US is made up of introverts. So why do we feel so isolated or inferior? It is time for introverts to recognize we possess extremely valuable assets and the world would run amok without us!
What Are the Strengths of Introverts?
In case you haven’t figured it out yet, these are some of the noteworthy characteristics of introverts!
- They prefer to think before they act.
- They need time to formulate ideas in their heads before talking about them.
- They prefer depth over breadth; this is true of relationships and information. An introvert prefers fewer deep and meaningful relationships over hundreds of contacts. Introverts also tend to dive deep into topics they are interested in.
- They are creative (either in solving problems or in the arts)
- They are often good at thinking up strategies
- They make good innovators
- They are humble
- They take calculated risks (based on fact finding)
- They remain calm under pressure
- And most importantly, introverts regain energy by being alone.
Let’s Translate This Into Skills
Not all introverts are the same, but many share these skills:
- Good listening skills
- Analytical skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Strong concentration abilities
- One-on-one communication
You Are NOT Shy
You are not shy or anti-social, but that is how you are often perceived by people who first meet you. You can fix this! And actually, you HAVE to fix this. We live in a society that expects outgoing, gregarious types. But this doesn’t mean you have to put on a fake, over-the-top persona. All you have to do is…
Acknowledge and accept the fact that you may be perceived as shy or anti-social or less than approachable.
It sounds obvious, but some people don’t realize this is how they come across. Own it and take preventative measures. These are the simple and immediate fixes you can implement today:
Smile! When you first meet someone or walk into a room.
Introduce yourself first! Don’t hang against the wall waiting for a familiar face or for someone to reach out to you.
Learn the art and science of small talk! Having conversational currency helps.
Stop Making Excuses! Sure this is difficult, uncomfortable, yucky, and all that, but, self development is part of life. Start stepping outside your comfort zone.
Secrets for Overcoming the Fear of Networking
You know you should overcome your fear of networking. This can be intimidating to introverts who generally avoid social situations. But not all networking has to occur in large groups.
#1. Arrange one-on-one networking meetings instead of attending large events whenever possible.
#2. Research the person you are going to meet so you can create some “small talk” questions for them when you first meet.
#3. If you must go to a networking event, ask someone to go with you! This helps hold you accountable and gives you a “fall back” person to talk to if you must.
#4. Re-energize often. Its ok to spend some time alone!
Rather than try to radically change who you are, leverage your strengths! Yes, we all have weaknesses, but with just a little effort, we can be heard and stand out with the rest of the extroverts!