“In a gentle way, you can shake the world.” - Mahatma Gandhi
One-third of the populations in this world are introverts. Are you one of them?
Since young, I remembered having great difficulty to be social. I cannot fathom through idle chitchat or loud and generalized conversation as they were over-stimulating.
Things were eventually placed at a great disadvantage for me when I entered the corporate world. As an introvert in a loud corporate world that could not stop talking, I struggled to network effectively. I felt extremely exhausting to be at social events.
All I wanted was to rush back home and be myself again. Or just a one-on-one conversation with somebody I know, rather than this massive big group at networking parties. In summary, I didn’t felt it was me at the events.
While it can be frustrating at times, I was reminded of how transformative leaders like Abraham Lincoln, Rosa Parks, and Eleanor Roosevelt had led a successful life, despite being introverted or shy.
In the modern era, well-known introverts like Chris Scherpenseel (President of Microsoft), Warren Buffett (one of World’s richest Magnate), and Brenda Barnes (Sara Lee’s CEO) have also made it.
They have proven that introverts CAN succeed in a world inclined towards the extroverts. It can be achieved.
So you might ask what is their “secret formulae”?
What these successful people have had in common was the ability to nourish unique strength from their quiet needs and carefully tailor social interactions.
If you wish to be successful in life, the below 5-steps guide would be extremely helpful-
Step 1: Accept That You Need to Take the Leap
“The more you know who you are, and what you want, the less you let things upset you.” ― Stephanie Perkins
The first thing you have to do is to accept the fact that you ARE going to jump into the social pool. Take some time to mentally accept that you would be put an awkward situation that you often look to avoid.
Be prepared to enter loud, crowded, and often unappealing social gatherings wherein idle chitchat and pointless greetings are necessary.
Step 2: Prepare in advance
”By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail.” - Benjamin Fanklin, one of Founding Fathers of United States
Preparation makes half the battle won. Before going on business meetings, be sure to think through the world from your perspective.
Leverage on your strength as introverts and think about the personality, goals and motivations, concerns and questions the person you are meeting might ask. This helps you get comfortable even before the meeting and increase your chances of ace-ing the meeting.
In addition, contact the person via email, Facebook or other forms of social media to break ice before the meeting.
I have tried this method many times and it has always worked well. I feel more comfortable and relaxed during the meeting J
Step 3: Leverage on Your Strengths
“The key to any game is to use your strengths and hide your weaknesses.”-Paul Westphal, former head coach with NBA
Despite the misconceptions of the introverted mind, most introverts are good at carrying a conversation IF it is on the right subjects. This is because we are mostly adept at talking deeply due to our specific interests and focused knowledge.
The key to reaching these abilities is to get away from the pointless chatter of inane subjects. So find a way into get into deeper conversation with people in your conversation and guide them towards your interests.
This task is not always easy, but idle chitchat and pointless jib-jab will often leave you incapable of carrying a conversation. Thus, look for ways to relate topics back to the area of interest you enjoy.
Having said that, be careful not to appear domineering during the conversation.
Step 4: Seek Groups with Pointed Interests
If you find relating back topics difficult, then it is best to enter a group with pointed interest. This is instead of always agreeing to enter gatherings of a hodgepodge of individuals where it is hard to blend in.
With the vast knowledge that most introverts have, you would not find it difficult to hold of deep and individualized conversation. Book clubs, sporting bars (with a common beloved team/club) or expo gatherings are all great places to hang out.
Alternatively, you can look to creating deep relationships with a few high-value contacts, rather than spreading your net on a large pool of contacts on superficial relationships.
Step 5: Take Breathers When Required
“I still need more healthy rest in order to work at my best. My health is the main capital I have and I want to administer it intelligently.” -Ernest Hemingway, famous American author and journalist
The introverted mindset is one that uses up a lot of energy trying to read other people’s body language, subtle meanings, and general between-the-lines dialogue. It can get exhausting and overwhelming.
The mind simply attempts to make connections, deduce meanings, and becomes overworked without conscious effort. That is why small breaks from interaction are important for the introvert.
Finding an adjacent and isolated moment every 30 minutes or so can help prolong the overall social efforts of the introvert. In so doing, you will be more capable of having poignant and worthwhile conversation over the courses of the gatherings.
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