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Introvert Strengths in the Workplace


Kathy

Introverts are everywhere, but we live in a world full of outgoing, happy people who want to meet everyone and ensure that the party never ends! What are you supposed to do at work and how are you supposed to advance your career if you prefer spending time by yourself?

What is an introvert:

Those of us who suspect we have an introverted nature, often believe our extroverted colleagues are more capable of networking than we are. Before this article gives some ideas to the contrary, let’s first establish what being introverted means. I often hear people confuse being introverted with being shy. While shyness and introversion can go together, they are not remotely the same thing.

The main distinction between introverts and extroverts is how these two personality types are energized. Extroverts gain, build or generate energy from being around others. Introverts gain their energy from time spent in solitary pursuits, “far from the maddening crowd.” Looked at from this definition, an introvert is likely to leave a networking event feeling drained, while an extrovert is likely to leave the same networking event feeling energized. Aside from this difference, both people can have perfectly effective and pleasant networking experiences.

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Strengths:

Introverts have many innate strengths that we can use in the networking arena. We will focus on one – listening. Most introverts instinctually develop an excellent ability to listen. Since we tend to avoid drawing attention to ourselves, we excel at listening to the people around us. Listening is crucial at a networking event. Networking is not sales. Networking is developing relationships. Relationships require attentive, mindful listening. Attentive and mindful listening allows us the chance to consider how we can be of use to the person we have just met.

Listening is a key strength to developing a relationship with a stranger. One thing image coach Starla West will tell you over and over, people like to feel like they are important. Attentive, mindful listening is an excellent way to make the other member of the conversation feel they are important. This feeling will increase the chances this person will respond to you positively in the future, supporting you and your brand. Talking constantly decreases this ability to make the other person feel important.

Many extroverts can be so busy “extroverting” they forget to listen. Networking can bring together a wide range of experience and knowledge from many varied fields and industries. By listening to the diversity, we increase the chances we learn something from others. Combine the benefit of learning from others with the fact that listening helps them feel important, and the natural good-listener advantage becomes clear.

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About the Blogger: Hi, I'm Kathy G. Slaughter. Based on my personal experience and professional expertise, I believe "the un-examined life is not worth living." Un-examined patterns and beliefs hinder our ability to live rewarding and authentic lives. Our behavior, whether in or outside the workforce, consists of knee-jerk psychological reflexes. This reality limits our ability to be happy and productive in all areas of life. My passion lies in helping individuals and organizations identify patterns and beliefs that are limiting their ability to fulfill their role in an authentic and satisfying ways. My greatest goal is to connect with you and through our connection, transform how you perceive your life and your choices. Life is too short to live it un-examined.

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Wed, September 26 2012 » Self Development

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