From Introvert to Extrovert – 6 Simple Steps

This post is from career consultant Simon North. He recently contributed the popular post ‘8 Ways to Compete When You’re Not Naturally Competitive’ and here more advice in another area in which confidence plays a part

“Although life is rarely as simple as labelling anyone as either an ‘introvert’ or an ‘extrovert’, the majority of us do have a proclivity for either introversion or extroversion. Being an ‘introvert’ in this sense of the word has its merits but there are times in our professional careers where it pays to be more extroverted. An introvert doesn’t become an extrovert overnight; however there are several steps they can take to bring out their more extroverted side.

1. Be Open-Minded

It’s difficult to draw out of yourself a personality trait that you perceive negatively. Too often introverts will stereotype extroverts as noisy, disorganized and ‘crazy’. Open your mind to the idea of extroversion as something positive. Write up a list of all the extroverts you know and whom you get on with or at least respect and admire. Identify the qualities that you like in these people. You’ll realize that many of those characteristics are to do with their extroverted personalities—so being an extrovert isn’t, in fact, all bad.

2. Adopt Opposite Behaviours

Practice behaving like an extrovert until it comes more naturally to you. At work, have a go at drawing attention to yourself and your workspace by putting pictures on the wall or a packet of biscuits on your desk. In fact, any kind of food on display will draw more colleagues than usual to you because, let’s face it, we’re talking about free food here!

3. Act the Part

A lot of stars of the screen and stage are actually quite introverted. It’s only when they assume the role of a fictional character or impersonate a real person, that they find that the freedom of a different persona gives them license to become more extroverted. The impressionist and comedian Jon Culshaw, for example, comes across as rather shy in certain interviews, yet he is one of Britain’s most successful performers. Even if you are not inherently outgoing, you do have what it takes to play the game and put on a performance as an extrovert. Think back to your school plays or drama classes and what you did to immerse yourself in a role. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you’re being fake—you’re simply putting the adage ‘act it until you believe it’ into practice.

4. Learn from Others

In any given group of people there will be a mix of introverts and extroverts. There are extroverts present in all your personal and professional networks, whether it’s your social circle of old university pals or your team at work. Watch these people closely to see what they do differently to you and learn from their actions.

5. Know Thyself

Explore who you are and what makes you different from others. You can be the same sex, in the same age band and from the same social class as someone but be completely different to them. Don’t assume that just because you are in the same demographic grouping as a person, you behave like them. Being aware of what makes you unique will help you to understand how you come across to colleagues, employers, interviewers and recruiters. This in turn helps you to identify and isolate areas of your personality that you can improve upon.

6. Encourage Other Introverts

What if the introvert in question is not yourself but a member of your team? Any experienced team leader, especially one that chairs a lot of meetings, will tell you that you must watch introverts very closely and make the effort to consciously include them, as they’re not naturally going to speak up. Offer protection to the quieter ones around the table by reminding the more extroverted ones to be inclusive. Give introverts time to speak. Whenever someone is about to interrupt or talk over someone else, ask them to be quiet and listen and ask the other person to keep talking. It’s your meeting, your team and therefore in your best interests to let everyone have a say.”

 

Simon North is Founder of Position Ignition, one of the UK’s leading Career Consultancies and co-author of their eBook Sell Yourself with Confidence: 100 Tips on Selling You. Simon co-founded Position Ignition.com to provide career consulting to people looking for guidance and support through their career change, new career direction, job search and career development.