7 tips for introverts at the office

Tips for introverts at the office

Guest post by Hermione Wilson

If you’re an introvert, starting a new job can be daunting. Not because you’re not capable and qualified, but because you have to meet new people. Making new acquaintances is hard enough without the added stress of trying to make a good impression on your new boss and co-workers. If the thought of forging relationships with your colleagues fills you with dread, these seven tips are for you.

  1. Make the first move. Instead of wondering why no one is approaching you or making conversation with you at work, make the first move. Smile and say hello to people when you get to work in the morning. “Be proactive,” says Vancouver workplace consultant and coach Diana Cawood, “Give what it is you want to get.”

  2. Think before you speak. When it comes to making conversation with your co-workers or your boss, remember to take it slow. “Don’t rush into conversations,” says Cawood. “When you enter a room, allow your eyes to settle on a person or a small group and walk over without hurrying.” Allow yourself time to think about what you are going to say.

  3. Know what you value. Having a strong sense of your own values allows you to be more confident in your workplace interactions, says Cawood. These values could be anything from creativity and integrity to teamwork and work/life balance. “Take time privately to assess what matters most to you,” says Cawood. “It anchors you.”

  4. Look for kindred spirits. Don’t think of interacting with your co-workers in terms of networking, says Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. “I don’t even use the word network. I hate it, it seems really machine-like and cold to me,” Cain said in an interview with business coach Marie Forleo. “I think in terms of kindred spirits. I go through the world looking for kindred spirits.” As an introvert, you are naturally empathetic and comfortable in a one-on-one setting. Use that to your advantage.

  1. Be curious. “Practise being curious,” says Cawood, “Put the focus on really hearing and understanding what matters to the other person.” Cawood suggests asking open-ended questions early on in the conversation such as, “What inspired you to get into the work you do?”

  2. Know your worth. Before you approach a new interaction, take time to reconnect with your sense of who you are. When people find themselves shy and self-conscious at work, it’s usually because they have lost touch with their own worthiness, says Cawood.

  3. Be prepared to move outside of your comfort zone. Not every interaction you have in the workplace will come naturally to you. “Sometimes you really do have to push yourself outside of your natural temperament,” Cain said in a talk she gave at Google in 2012. “It’s natural and good and healthy to be able to stretch ourselves to some extent.”

Photo courtesy FlickrCC/thetaxhaven