Succeeding as an Introvert in an Extrovert World
Putting yourself out there can be extra challenging when you're an introvert. We got you. Macy Alcaraz writes a helpful guide to embracing your quiet power and repping yourself.
TEXT MACY ALCARAZ
There are a lot of misconceptions about introverts. Your silence is misunderstood as being antisocial or being aloof. Introverts are almost automatically categorized as shy, withdrawn, and sometimes, arrogant even. But you know that these are all generalizations that are far from the truth.
In a world where extroverts are taking over conversations, standing out from the crowd, and getting all the attention, how does an introvert put themselves out there without calling uneccessary attention to themselves? It sounds like an impossible mission, but there are ways to play up your strengths without becoming a faux extrovert.
LISTEN AND REACT
Introverts are great listeners. This is mostly because you process things internally—you don’t need to vocalize your thoughts right away. You want to understand something before you give your two cents.
In a conversation, you might not realize it, but this makes your input valuable because you absorb what the other person is saying, see where they’re coming from, and take that into account before formulating a response.
MAKE MEANINGFUL CONNECTIONS
Because other people tire you out easily, it’s expected that introverts are not the type to engage in networking. But in reality, introverts are very mindful of the connections they make because they want to invest time in people who understand them.
You don’t need to talk with everyone in the room. You just need to connect with people who get your vision and can contribute valuable insights. Once you’ve engaged with people who are like-minded or have the resources you can learn from, drop them an email or a message to continue the relationship. That’s more efficient than stressing yourself out in small talk with everyone, half of whom you’ll never speak with again after you leave the room.
Knowing that your thought processes take some time and might seem longer than extroverts, it’s also good to come prepared. For example, if there’s an agenda set at a meeting, take time to review it and list down your thoughts before the actual meeting. That way, when you’re asked for suggestions, you’re ready. And don’t worry if you’re not the first to speak or if the words don’t come out right at first. You can always ask questions if anything is unclear.
DON'T BE AFRAID TO SELL YOURSELF
It doesn’t have to be a loud “hey, look at me” kind of sales talk, either. Play up to your strengths. If there’s a topic that you feel strongly about, feel free to jump in on the conversation and share your experience. They won’t think you’re bragging or being arrogant. They’ll appreciate your input and it can possibly lead to longer conversations that otherwise wouldn’t have happened if you chose to keep quiet.
In a world where curated feeds reign supreme and popularity is measured in likes, it’s easy to put on a kind of filter on yourself. It’s not a perfectly cropped photo or an expertly color graded image that will get people to see you and want to know you better. If you put out content that speaks of what you love and believe, the people you’re reaching out to will find you. And don’t be scared to give that love back. You’ll see that standing out doesn’t mean diverging from your true self.
Remember that being an introvert isn’t a disadvantage. It just means you process things differently than others. That means you don’t necessarily have to bend over backwards to do things their way just because it works for them. You just need to figure out how to make them understand how it’s done your way.
There is power in silence and an introvert’s quiet strength is what makes you stand out in the end.
Guest contributor Macy Alcaraz is a freelance writer, editor, and digital strategist. She’ll always be a web girl.