Unless you're a social butterfly, chances are you've experienced some pretty blah moments at work and found yourself going unnoticed and skipped when promotions and raises are handed out. The rent is due so crawling back into bed isn't a viable option, but what's an introvert, albeit a hard working one, to do? Perhaps you need to step up your game.
The following 4 solutions are bound to turn things around from 9 to 5 and beyond. The goal is finding your happy place without becoming the obnoxious in-your-face cubicle mate everyone avoids, while leaving behind the overlooked mouse in the corner cleaning up the crumbs.
1. Omm…. Take Time to Recharge at Lunch
Constant meetings and conversations can leave introverted people feeling stressed and overwhelmed. Make time for yourself by taking short breaks throughout the day to relax and clear your mind. Step outside for a solitary lunch in a nearby park now and then. This reduces the visible strain on your face, leaving the impression you're relaxed and easy to get along with.
If you're only comfortable among coworkers while actively doing something, get involved in company events and extras. Join the early morning yoga class, participate in company sponsored charity events or join your colleagues for a friendly tennis match. You don't have to do everything but by mixing more, you'll be perceived as a team player, which is much better than scurrying home with no more than an awkward cube-mate conversation.
Like it or not, how you look plays a huge role in first impressions. Within a few seconds of walking into a meeting or networking event room, others are already forming opinions based solely on appearance. The lesson? Watch what you wear. We're all tempted to choose the plain basic, professional outfit. Solution? Try to incorporate blue into your presentation ensemble. According to a study CareerBuilder, blue is the color that people associate with leadership and teamwork. Do you own an amazing statement necklace? Wear it or go for a bracelet, a bright crimson scarf, jacket or shoes. It seems simple enough and will go miles toward having you pop in the memories of others.
Look for ways to help a coworker. If Sally, two cubes down, has a particularly difficult project due and needs 4 power point presentations done ASAP, offer to help. Your assistance could make the difference in your coworker getting the next promotion and if so, it will be remembered and appreciated. Genuine helpfulness, given unselfishly, creates more opportunities for being noticed at work and beats hiding out in your cube passing spare hours with on-screen solitaire. Plus face-to-face communication can build trust and boost morale. I believe a tremendous amount of my career success has been a direct result of helping others achieve. It's been remembered and reciprocated almost every time.
A study done by New York University found that when you meet somebody for the first time, it takes about 7 seconds for the other person to evaluate your trustworthiness, competence, confidence, authority level and friendliness. Whew! All that in just 7 seconds is rather frightening. You can bet that at work, and especially networking events, people are making up their minds about you based on the first 7 seconds. Don't slap on a Stepford Wife smile, but sometimes you have to learn to fake confidence to believe it. Try to tackle something small on a daily basis to build up your confidence.
So along with punching up your presentation with clothing and accessories, consider your non-verbal cues. Good posture with head held high gives the impression you're fearless, even if quaking on the inside. Don't move with hesitation or a series of stops and starts. Look about for a landing spot and go for it. Trust your instincts!
Another way a lack of confidence shows is in your speech. Learn to modulate your speech and use the right volume. Try to visualize yourself giving a pitch. Think about the people in the room and watch yourself talking. This helps you get comfortable in your own skin.
Finally, let out a sigh of relief and follow these 4 tips. Each day will be easier than the last as coworkers and more importantly, supervisors, begin to notice and appreciate your steady hardworking commitment to the job.