Being an introvert is often considered a problem or “an area of opportunity for development.”
This is not true.
I found out that it is just a matter of how you balance situations that take a lot of energy from you, and explore new ways of working.
After the live Q&A session with Trevor Turnbull and Alex Feczko I did recently, I received several messages from people saying they were surprised that I am an introvert. So I decided to write about how I found ways to manage situations that can be potentially stressful for introverts, like being in a live Q&A, or working in a dynamic environment like the sports industry.
4 Tips Any Introvert Needs To Succeed In Potentially Stressful Situations.
1) Identify the energy consuming situations
It is not easy to be on the stage presenting project results or new products. It takes a lot of energy. And yes, it can be very scary…
But you, my introvert friend, you can absolutely do that.
The first step is to identify the situations that make you feel stressed or without confidence. By doing this, you will have more time to be prepared and avoid these feelings.
Pay attention to the moments you feel uneasy, when it seems that your confidence is gone and you are not good enough. Your energy goes away in minutes. Can you identify these moments?
A practical example: let’s say you need to present a new product in an internal meeting. You already know this will be difficult because you don’t feel confortable with 20 pairs of eyes looking at you. This leads us to the second tip: prepare yourself in advance.
2) Be prepared
A product presentation to 20 people can consume a lot of energy from introverts. You don’t feel confident enough to talk, although you are an expert in product development.
It is easier when you talk about a subject that you really know a lot about. To be prepared, certify that you have all information available, inside your head and in annotations that are easy to access.
Understand the audience. Who will be there? What kind of questions they will ask? What are they expecting from you? If you have these points clear, you will notice the confidence level won’t change during the presentation, or it will at least remain almost the same throughout.
Rehearsal. Speak to yourself over and over until you are familiar with the words and you feel they are flowing naturally. Don’t be ashamed to do that. Do it alone or, if you prefer, ask to a friend to listen to you and give feedback.
Picture yourself during the presentation, being confident and prepared. Remember, you have all the knowledge and all the information. And in case someone asks a question that you cannot answer, take note, research and say you will offer the response right after the presentation. And do it, answer as soon as possible.
3) Ask for feedback
Choose a friend that works with you and can give honest feedback. Ask how you were able to deliver the message and if there was some point that was not clear. Usually introverts think a situation turned out worse than the reality.
Be kind to yourself. Don’t put the pressure to be a 5 star speaker that can give presentations with no notice on yourself. Leave this to people that have this skill. And it is totally ok if you don’t have it. You are good at things that make you unique and an excellent professional.
Are you good at planning? Checking details? Writing? Preparing the information for the team? I am sure you deserve a 5 star rating on these or other related activities. So don’t believe that being an expert in giving speeches is the only thing that will make you successful on your job.
Ask for feedback with the objective to understand what can help you to decrease the level of stress in situations of higher exposure in mind (as these are usually what make us introverts to feel uneasy and stressed).
4) Plan the balance between tasks
It is hard for introverts to be involved in a series of tasks that are energy consuming. We need time to recover. That doesn’t not mean the solution is to run away until the next stressful situation comes up.
Did you have to present a lot during a meeting, a presentation, maybe an event? Now look for activities where you can be alone or with low level of interruptions.
Sometimes I leave my desk and go working for a few hours in a meeting room, alone. My boss knows where to find me and I never close all communication channels because people need to access me for urgent matters. I focus on tasks like product assortment planning, answering email messages or any other task that I can work on alone during few hours.
Which activities you can work on that will give you time to recover your energy and still be productive?
Are You An Introvert In The Sports Industry?
Well, I am. And although a lot of people don’t notice that, I can feel my level of energy decreasing fast in situations when I need to expose myself.
I have learned to not consider this a problem.
This is my personality. I just had to find my way of managing the level of energy. Now I don’t let potentially stressful situations ruin my day or block me from good opportunities in life.
Were these 4 tips helpful? If so, please share to your work group and friends.
Now I would love to hear from you: do you have other tips for introverts? Share your story on the comments below.