Surprising advantages possessed by those who are less outgoing
The world was made for extroverts.
Ever think that? The average extrovert probably wouldn’t agree or disagree with this belief; the extrovert simply wouldn’t think about it, because extroverts are often too busy being themselves (or talking) to stop and analyze what they are doing. They are too busy just being themselves in an environment that suits them. And that’s great – that’s authentic.
The good news for the introvert is that you can feel that way too. Studies show that nearly half of the U.S. population is made up of introverts who prefer to think first, work in small groups, and need alone time to reenergize. All qualities that can enable stronger relationships.
There is no need to try and emulate what others are doing. Introverts can feel completely at ease in business and social situations once they recognize that being introverted can be a strength. Here are three things to consider before you decide making connections and building relationships is something that comes more naturally for extroverts.
- One-On-One Connectors
Introverts tend to feel less at ease in large group conversations. They often find it difficult to interject and get heard. Large social gatherings can be daunting and draining. So what? These settings are not the key to connection. The small crowd preference works, even better is the one-on-one. That is where real relationships form and that is where introverts are at their best. Introverts have the advantage of being their most comfortable and authentic selves in the environment where true connection forms. Embrace it.
TIP: Though clear on the preference for small group, introverts are often in the large conference setting. No fear. Look for others hanging back from the crowd or sitting alone at a table and throw out the rescue line by starting a conversation.
- Natural Born Listeners
It is a well known fact that introverts are great listeners. They take in information, process and contemplate what they hear. They probe and ask questions to gain a deeper understanding of the situation or the person. Listening is an art and introverts have the focus and patience to do it well. Introverts think before they speak. Though they speak less, when they do people listen because they typically have thought it through. They speak when they have something to say that will advance the conversation.
TIP: Keep asking questions but be willing to share as well. A little self-disclosure goes a long way in putting others at ease, especially when connecting with an extrovert.
- Quiet Confidence
I love this phrase. It creates a visual of someone who knows who they are, trusts themselves, and doesn’t “try” but rather just “is”. Don’t we all strive for this? It seems to come more easily for the introvert. They are not trying to be the center of attention or to monopolize a conversation; they know what they bring to the table and believe people will recognize it. It enables them to be less threatening and get along more easily with others.
TIP: There is a balance between quiet confidence and expecting people to notice – they often don’t. Don’t think of claiming your accomplishments as boasting, think of it as sharing. Sharing your excitement over what you have done and you will be more comfortable and get noticed as you deserve.
Being a great networker is not just for the extroverts. Some of the best Connectors I know are introverts. They leverage their natural listening skills to make people feel heard. They are able to focus their attention on the person in front of them. All of these innately introverted qualities are advantages when it comes to connection. Embrace your natural strengths and use them to build relationships and your career.
Written by: Michelle Tillis Lederman
Michelle Tillis Lederman is the author of The Connector’s Advantage: 7 Mindsets to Grow Your Influence and Impact and CEO of Executive Essentials, a communications and management training and coaching firm. For more information, please visit, www.michelletillislederman.com and connect with her on Twitter, @mtlederman and Linkedin.