Confidence is one of the keys to success at work. But as an introvert, finding my confidence in the workplace hasn’t been easy. I often stay quiet in big group meetings because I feel too intimidated to speak up. One-on-one meetings with my boss make my palms sweat, and just the thought of networking is enough to make me queasy.
However, I’m not going to let my introverted personality hold me back at work. I may be an introvert, but I’m also hardworking, ambitious, and determined to build a successful career for myself. By embracing my introversion, I’ve learned how to be more confident at work with strategies that work for my personality type.
How To Be More Confident At Work As An Introvert
From job interviews to networking events to presentations, the workplace is full of situations that can feel extremely intimidating to introverts. These strategies can help you find your confidence at work when you have an introverted personality.
1. Come prepared.
Introverts typically work best when they have time to sort out their thoughts and work through problems by themselves first.
Speaking off the cuff may not be as easy for you as it is for your more extroverted co-workers. To avoid getting tongue-tied—or just not saying anything all—get prepared beforehand.
Before going into a meeting, jot down a few notes or talking points you’d like to discuss. If you have a presentation coming up, plan ahead what you want to say and rehearse it if necessary. Taking time to organize your thoughts inside your head beforehand will help you articulate them more clearly and confidently when you’re put on the spot.
2. Prioritize your alone time.
Interacting with others energizes extroverts, but too much social interaction can feel draining or overwhelming for introverts. It’s important to build time into your schedule to recharge by yourself.
Between meetings, sit down at your desk and work with your headphones in for a while. Go for a walk by yourself during your lunch break. Give yourself some time to be alone with your thoughts throughout the day so you feel energized and ready to tackle the necessary social interactions with confidence.
3. Be mindful of how you communicate.
Portraying outer confidence is a sneaky way to find your inner confidence at work. It’s the classic “Fake it ‘til you make it” strategy.
When other people view you as capable and self-assured, you start to feel more confident, too. Your body language and tone of voice are essential techniques for projecting confidence in the workplace. Stand up straight, use eye contact, and speak in a clear voice with periods at the ends of your sentences (no uptalk!).
These small adjustments in how you communicate make a huge difference in how confident you appear to others—and how confident you actually feel.
4. Practice speaking up more often.
Some people may mistakenly assume introverts don’t know the answer because they don’t always speak up first. Introverts also sometimes get overlooked for new assignments or opportunities because they don’t have the loudest voice or the most outgoing personality in the room.
To make sure you don’t go unnoticed, start speaking up more frequently in office group settings. Offer your opinion and answer questions during meetings, or volunteer first to take on that new project. It becomes easier—and you become more confident—the more you do it.
5. Own your strengths and accomplishments.
As an introvert, you may think it feels unnatural to talk about yourself. But in the workplace, you are your strongest advocate.
If you don’t acknowledge your successes, it’s likely that no one else is going to do it for you. Don’t be afraid to show what you know and take credit for what you’ve accomplished. Talking about your accomplishments isn’t bragging when it helps you move forward in your career.
[Tweet “In the workplace, you are your strongest advocate.”]
6. Channel your thoughts to boost your confidence.
Introverts are often chronic overthinkers. It’s easy to get caught up in your head and let negative thoughts psych you out before an important meeting or office event.
Instead of considering all the things that could go wrong, use that self-talk to your advantage and give yourself a quick pep talk.
Focus your thoughts on your past achievements at work or the strengths you bring to the team. List out the qualities that make you a competent, skilled professional. You spend a lot of time in your own head, so make it count for something positive.
7. Stuck on what to say? Ask a question.
Networking is a vital tool in career-building, but it can pose an extremely intimidating situation for introverts.
When it comes to networking and making new connections, having an arsenal of “back-pocket questions” can help you feel more confident navigating conversations.
Because most people enjoy talking about themselves, asking questions is an easy strategy to keep the conversation moving. If you’re not sure what to say, ask a question like, “How did you get started in this industry?” or “What has your career path been like?” Asking questions shows you’re interested and engaged—and it’s a great way to deflect the conversation away from yourself if you’ve run out of things to say.
Navigating the workplace isn’t always easy for introverts. Many workplace systems just seem to work better for more outgoing, extroverted personalities. But you don’t have to be an extrovert to succeed in your career. When you find your confidence at work, nothing—not even being an introvert—can hold you back.