Self-promotion tips for introverts
Tuesday, March 13, 2018
Social media, email and chat services provide fantastic opportunities for us nonsocial butterflies to interact with more people in a less uncomfortable way. Yet no matter how much technology affords us the ability to indulge our introversion, professional self-promotion can be supremely helpful for any career.
Here are a few self-promotion tips for introverts.
Control the game
Make a list of the most nightmarish to least nightmarish interpersonal exchanges. Are there social interactions that are less uncomfortable?
Note any differences among the comfort level experienced during one-on-one meetings, group events or conferences. Figure out which is the most comfortable and then reconfigure as many interactions as possible into those formats.
For situations you cannot control, consider things that might offset the awkwardness. For example, instead of cold calling someone, ask an intermediary for an introduction. To reduce the stress at a group event, consider bringing a partner. Or, to avoid freezing up, try memorizing one sentence as a conversation starter.
Get the message out
After using different approaches and practicing various scenarios, it is helpful to make another list outlining what you do and do not like about those interactions.
For example, do you have difficulty carrying on a conversation when there is a lot of background noise? Is starting a conversation with a superior or stranger challenging? Do you feel awkward anytime you have to talk about yourself?
Get clear on your challenges, then find a way to phrase them so you feel comfortable saying them. Co-workers, bosses and people with whom you are networking all want to know they are being heard, taken seriously and understood.
Certain introverted behaviors, like prolonged silences, avoiding interactions or brief responses, can be misinterpreted as indifference, aloofness or distraction. To avoid any misunderstandings, practice phrases that address your challenges to make it clear to the other party where you stand.
For example, if you find it awkward to talk about yourself, start by discussing the accomplishments of your team and then ease into your role on the team. Or, if you are challenged by one-on-one conversations with new people, be ready with a couple of questions and then engage in active listening to encourage the other party to continue talking.
Most importantly, ensure you are supporting yourself. Embracing interpersonal reactions and using them to further your career will not happen overnight. Start by setting small goals and recognize any early successes. Establish milestones and regularly check in with yourself to make sure you are not setting unrealistic expectations or undermining your success with negative self-talk.
The bottom line is, while tech tools make it easier than ever to escape personal interaction, in-person self-promotion can be supremely helpful for any career. Embrace traits you may already have, like being a good listener or naturally inquisitive, and focus on your interpersonal strengths in different situations to gradually develop your self-promotion skills.
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