How to Overhaul Your Communication In An Introvert-Friendly Way
Introverts can get a bad rap: They’re often mistaken for being aloof, snobby or shy. In reality, introverts feel depleted when in social settings and can only get reenergized when they’re alone. If you lean towards introversion, there are many ways to boost your communication effectiveness with coworkers and peers at work.
Here are five approaches you can try:
1. Don’t Apologize for Who You Are
You don’t need to ask for forgiveness for not liking mushrooms or fish, so why would you need to apologize for requiring alone time?
An introvert is a legitimate personality type. You don’t need to berate yourself for possessing this characteristic and you don’t need to ask for forgiveness from others. This is who you are. As an introvert, you may need to spend upwards of 50 percent of your time alone for good mental and emotional health.
2. Give Voice to your Needs
Getting labeled fearful or standoffish isn’t desirable in a workplace — or anywhere, really. To avoid this, make sure to articulate your need for solo time. Make sure to address your need to recharge alone, to your coworkers and superiors.
If you can outline what this recharging time looks like, that’s even better. You can assist your colleagues in better understanding you and your needs.
3. Focus on the Other Person
Asking other people in the conversation about themselves and their work will give an introvert a break. Introverts are excellent listeners, so why not embrace this asset? Listening will take the pressure and attention off of you and put it on someone else.
One added bonus to this approach is it reflects positively on you because people love talking about themselves and feeling heard. You’ll be considered a great conversationalist.
4. Use Social Media and Writing
Putting pen to paper or text on social media or email is a fantastic way to engage with others while alone. Writing allows an introvert to thoughtfully articulate themselves without being put on the spot or on display at a meeting or presentation.
Online platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn are an extension of this writing because they are a safe and effective way to interact for introverts.
These networks also build familiarity between people, so when face-to-face interactions eventually occur there is an established level of comfort.
5. Take a Pause or a Break
Putting your thoughts into words can take some time. Instead of beating yourself up for needing time to assemble your ideas into words, give yourself a break. Literally. It is perfectly normal and acceptable to take a moment to gather your thoughts. You can even ask for a moment to think — there’s no harm or foul in that.
If a conversation is continuing for a while and you feel yourself needing a break, take one. You can simply say you need to visit the restroom or grab a refreshment or get something you forgot in your office.
While you’re on your break, take the time to be still and find the solitude, which will refresh you before going back into the social setting.
It’s not important or realistic for an introvert to become an extrovert — that is not the goal. Great thinkers, creative minds and influential people including Einstein, Steven Spielberg, Queen Elizabeth II and Gandhi fit into the introvert category. There are productive and successful ways for introverts to communicate while on the job.
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