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3 tips for introverts that can help them succeed in communication-heavy roles

First, decide what you mean by “introvert.” I’m still trying to work this out myself. I really enjoy being with people… some of the time; but I do my best work in a quiet room on my own (especially when I’m writing), and I quite often just want to be left to myself. I think that makes me an introvert.

As an introvert, I have not had any problem working as a communications consultant. I don’t lack confidence, which would be an issue, but that comes from the skills I’ve built up over the years rather than my place on the introvert/extrovert spectrum.

So one tip, if you lack confidence, is to build up your work-relevant skills so that those around you respect you when you speak and give your opinion. You’ll find it much easier and more enjoyable to communicate if you know people value what you’re saying.

There is also an issue of getting noticed and getting heard for some introverts. Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In has great advice for women on getting more airtime in business meetings and the like, and I think some of her advice could also apply to introverts.

It’s about making sure that people know what you have to offer and staking your claim when there’s something you need to say. Just because you don’t like hanging out at loud parties doesn’t mean you can’t add a great deal of value in a structured meeting.

Finally, read Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain.

It will make you feel much better about being an introvert, and will provide lots of ideas for how to make it a strength rather than a liability.

Hector Macdonald is a Strategic Communications Consultant and author

This column was originally posted on Quora.com.

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