A big part of my work is sharing strategies that I have developed over the years that help introverts feel more confident and leverage their gifts to create more success in their life.
Often, the best way I can be of service is to share these strategies as if talking to a friend.
Those of you who know me or know my work know that I am a unconventional and a little rebellious. Since introverts are often expected to adhere to the extroverted rules of behavior, I wanted to share with you some ways I have handled myself over the years. Warning: these are things that worked for me but may not work for you, especially if you work in environment where there are cameras!
The Performance Discussion
I once was in a role where at the end of the year, staff were expected to assign themselves an overall rating and then discuss with the supervisor to see if it matched. I sat across from my supervisor, separated by a large desk. I was forced to politely listen to the "feedback" that was being given to me. He was trying to convince me that despite all of my exceptional reviews, I should change my performance assessment from "above average" to "average". I nodded my head in agreement but kept my stress level down by giving him the one-finger-salute under the desk throughout the entire meeting.
The Meeting- Round Robin Style
How many meetings have you sat in like these? Nothing like high pressure to contribute verbally to a discussion. After being called out way too many times for being "too quiet", I made the decision to always try and speak up first during these types of meetings. I made a mental note to store up stories or anecdotes before the meeting started so that I could reel something off at the beginning of the meeting instead of waiting to be called on. It knocks some of that "please don't pick me first" spell off of you.
As an HR Manager, I was often required to either provide updates during "All Hands" meetings or facilitate various coaching trainings. This was never my favorite task and always made me feel queasy but I did become a better presenter over time. My trick? Partner with someone else to deliver the talk or training. This way, you don't have to carry the whole load by yourself and divides the spotlight between you and your colleague. This is a wonderful way of breaking into public speaking if this is something you dread and will give you your sea legs for when it's time to present solo.
Team Building/Group Participation
Did you cringe reading that title? Me too. As with round robin meetings, volunteer to lead instead of being assigned the leader. This makes a huge difference and it gives you the added benefit of being viewed as a leader instead of hanging back, which is of course the preference. Believe me, volunteering creates a mental shift where interestingly, the focus is on the team instead of you. The great part is that you and your teammates create the response together and you simply have to read it out loud at the end. The more you do this, the more confident you will become.
I hope you found some of these suggestions helpful, if not entertaining. If you ever find yourself feeling anxious about something, always turn your attention back to yourself and give yourself permission to navigate yourself in ways that feel most comfortable to you.
It's ok to rebel a little because the reality is there is no one "right" way to behave. Respect yourself first, honor your needs and the rest will come much easier.
Finding and working with the right coach is another great way to help guide you to the next level. You can read more about my work here and what I offer here.
All my best to you,
Christian Marie Herron, is Story Mentor and Creative Consultant for entrepreneurs, thinkers and creatives.