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Introverted? Prepare to be heard

Outspoken or reserved - you need both personality types in the office.

The key difference between the two is that extroverts draw energy through interactions with others. Introverts recharge by spending time alone or with a few friends.

Both groups have their own strengths. The reality, however, is that quieter people get overlooked.

Bosses should not simply favour the livewires. Reflective individuals have their own advantages.

THOUGHTFUL

Do not confuse introspection with shyness. Being shy is the fear of social judgement. Being introverted means you think before you speak.

Exuberant people tend to process their thoughts aloud, which can be good for brainstorming.

Contemplative people are internal processors, preferring to think through the options before giving their well-reasoned opinions.

OBSERVANT

Because they are not always talking, quieter individuals can observe what others overlook, making them a good sounding board.

While the outspoken ones are going back and forth, the quieter people are taking on board what's being said, mulling over the views before they find the right time to weigh in. Their well-placed remarks can make an impact.

SELF-AWARE

Gregarious folk are focused on others. They interact with others and can be natural leaders. Continual self-analysis for self-improvement may be low on their priority list.

In contrast, it comes naturally to reflective individuals to regularly self-inspect and work on professional and personal development.

Remember the benefits that more contemplative colleagues bring to the team when you are hiring.

Pensive people may have gems to share if you give them the time and space.

That said, introverts should take steps to be more visible. You do not want your introspection to come across as indifference.

AT OFFICE MEETINGS

Often, there is little time to ponder and decisions need to be made. If there is an agenda, jot down your views beforehand and weigh in at the meeting.

If the meeting has been hastily called, let others have their say. Use the time to jot down a thought and make it heard.

In either case, do not wait till everyone around the conference table has had their say. If the meeting ends abruptly, you may have lost your chance to speak up.

IN SOCIAL SETTINGS

People who are reserved may lack the confidence to speak about themselves off the cuff. Prepare an elevator pitch of yourself that you can use at networking events.

This is a 30- to 90-second introduction of who you are.

You can also prepare pitches for scenarios such as bumping into the boss at the elevator. Think of the time when, through introspection, you were able to foresee a problem, think of a solution and raise it to the right people to resolve the issue.

FOR CORPORATE CATCH-UPS

When you meet someone who may be in a position to help you move ahead, invite them to lunch or coffee. Even if they decline, the invitation itself will make an impression.

Also, when handed a business card, make a note of the person and where you met them to help you remember the context.

Should the chance arise for a second meeting, check your notes and prepare follow-up questions.

To be sure, introverts have used their introspection to global advantage. Consider Albert Einstein and Bill Gates, among many others. Celebrate your strengths.

This article was contributed by Right Management (www.rightmanagement.sg), the global career experts within United States-listed HR consulting firm, ManpowerGroup.

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