Being an introvert doesn’t mean you don’t like to work with others or you’re too shy to speak your mind. However, when you’re working in an organization where introverts are outnumbered by extroverts, it can be difficult to fit in with the company culture.
Introverts by nature are people who thrive in quiet and low-key work environments. Sure, while they have the ability to collaborate with others and work in teams, they are the most successful when they can work on their own.
The key to thriving in a social company culture is being able to tweak some of your habits to meet the needs of your organization. This doesn’t mean you have to completely shift from being an introvert to being an extrovert. Although it can be difficult to fit in with an extroverted company culture, it’s definitely something you can achieve.
If you’re having a difficult time as an introvert fitting in with a company filled with extroverts, here are seven tips for surviving a social corporate culture:
1. Take a few minutes to gather your thoughts before a meeting.
Meetings can be overwhelming for introverts, especially if you have to present on a project or make announcements. However, if you take some time prior to the meeting to gather your thoughts, the meeting can run more smoothly.
Thirty minutes before the meeting, take a moment to review the agenda and jot down any last-minute thoughts that come to mind. This is a chance for you to gather any ideas before you’re bombarded by an army of brainstormers during the meeting. You can also reflect on any questions you may have or prepare anything you’d like to say. This way, you can go into the meeting feeling more calm and prepared.
2. Arrive early to company parties and events.
If you want to avoid the hustle and bustle of an event, consider arriving early. This allows you to get acquainted with the event before the rest of the party shows up. Although it might be tempting to avoid the event altogether, you’ll be thanking yourself at the end of the night for going.
3. Communicate your thought process to your colleagues.
Do you ever feel like you’re on the spot when asked for your input during a meeting?
The next time this happens during a meeting or presentation, teach your colleagues how to communicate with you. For example, if you need a minute or two to think about your answer, simply express your needs. This will help your colleagues better understand your communication process and respect your needs during a meeting.
4. Step outside of your comfort zone.
Stepping outside your comfort zone can be a challenge for most introverts. Let’s face it, if we’re already comfortable with our jobs and assignments, why force ourselves to try something new?
Fitting into a corporate culture filled with extroverts is already a force that will require you to step outside of your comfort zone. Every work day, you’ll be faced with the challenge of speaking at meetings, talking to new people, and collaborating with others. Although some of these activities can be exhausting for introverts, they’re almost necessary if you want to fit in with your company’s culture.
If you’re an introvert, here are a number of things you can do to push yourself outside your comfort zone at work:
- Ask to present your latest project at a meeting.
- Volunteer to lead a team.
- Voice your ideas during meetings.
- Ask questions.
- Discuss your accomplishments with colleagues.
- Focus on listening more and being a sponge.
5. Don’t hesitate to ask for what you need.
One thing many introverts often overlook is their needs. Especially if you’re working in a company filled with extroverts, it can be difficult to express your needs. Although difficult, it can definitely boost your engagement and productivity at work.
For example, let’s say you need more quiet time at work. Express to your coworkers that you need a few hours in the morning to concentrate in peace and quiet. Your coworkers should be understanding and respect your need to get work done.
6. Become comfortable with who you are.
The bottom line: there is no shame in being an introvert. You have just as many opportunities to shine in the workplace as an introvert, except in a different way. The more comfortable you are with your personality, the better you’ll fit in at work. You’ll discover you gain more confidence and find new ways to express yourself in the workplace.
7. Don’t let your workplace drain you.
As an introvert, it’s extremely important to identify the elements of your job that stress you out and make you feel overwhelmed. For example, if you find yourself getting drained from attending meetings or during brainstorming sessions, make time in your day to reenergize. After a meeting, take some time to work by yourself or mediate for a few minutes. This will help you get back into work mode without feeling drained.
By understanding your needs and habits as an introvert, you’ll be able to better adjust your work style in an extroverted organization. Although you might feel like the minority in the workplace, knowing what you need from your job will help you become more productive and positive at work.
What tips do you have for introverts who work in an extroverted environment?
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