by Matt Alderton | April 17, 2018
Because employers love confident, outgoing people, it often feels like the corporate ladder was made for only extroverts to climb.
"Sometimes it seems like the only way to get ahead is to treat every day like a TED talk: firm eye contact, rigid power poses, and painstakingly well-scripted presentations for your boss," says Glassdoor contributor Sarah Greesonbach. "But what about those of us who are the strong, silent type? Is it possible to set yourself apart and position yourself for a promotion when your idea of a good workday is quietly and consistently doing excellent work holed up in your office or cubicle?"

Greesonbach thinks that it is. It just requires a slightly different approach to classic career-building behaviors like self-promotion.

"If you want to speak up and get credit for your ideas in person but you know your mind will go blank once everyone's eyes are on you, give yourself some backup," Greesonbach advises. "Attend meetings with thorough notes on what you want to share and refer to those notes as you speak. It can even help to preface your contribution with a phrase that explains that you're not thinking on your feet such as, 'I was thinking about this over the weekend, and I had an idea that we could…' or 'Susana said something interesting last week that got me thinking about…' These phrases take the pressure off the moment and give some weight to what you have to say."

Mentors also can be useful.

"The workplace is often political, and the health of your relationships can make or break your chance at being considered for a promotion," Greesonbach continues. "If you're the type of introvert who eschews large groups of work friends in favor of a handful of close associates, this can make it harder to move up within a company -- unless those close relationships include more senior employees who care about your career and are willing to mentor you … A mentor relationship allows you to grow as a professional with someone to witness that growth and sponsor you for higher levels of responsibility."

At the end of the day, the secret to advancement isn't forcing yourself to be an extrovert; rather, it's finding creative ways to leverage being an introvert.

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Questions, Comments, Suggestions?
Contact Successful Meetings Editor in Chief Vincent Alonzo with your "How To" ideas.