Three ways to speak up at work when you’re naturally introverted

There are distinct benefits to being both an extrovert and an introvert. But when you lean more toward the quieter side, it can be challenging to make sure your voice is heard, especially at work. Speaking up as an introvert can be stressful, but there are tips that can help you use your voice in a way that feels comfortable and optimal for you. Here are a few, as recommended by clinical psychologists Michael Alcée and author Jennifer B. Kahnweiler.

First tip: write down your ideas first. Introverts tend to process a lot, and Alcée says that it can be helpful to write down your thoughts before a meeting. That way, you can allow yourself the space to clarify your ideas first, so you’re then more comfortable presenting them to others.

Second tip: guard your alone time. Because introverts tend to be more introspective, it’s helpful to carve out time during the day to let your thoughts percolate and recenter yourself. That alone time is “preparation time.” By taking the time to be alone during the day, you can feel more ready to speak up when you’re in a crowd, or even in a one-on-one meeting with your manager.

Third tip: be open about the way you communicate. There’s no shame in being a quieter person, so there’s no reason not to be upfront and direct about it — which is why Kahnweiler suggests telling your colleagues that you’re more introverted. Jumping into a conversation can perhaps be overwhelming at first, so letting the group know that you’re quieter right off the bat can help you feel more comfortable in the room. Then you can ease your way in. 

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