Being an introvert can be challenging when it comes to communicating with others. But it doesn’t have to be that way. For example, if you’re an introvert, then you already know that listening is one of your greatest strengths. That’s because being an introvert means having a rich inner life and deep capacity for reflection — which gives you the ability to pick up on what other people are saying in ways that extroverts may not notice so readily. So there’s no need for your silence or shyness to hold back your communication skills: here are seven tips to help you get more comfortable expressing yourself!
1. Learn to make eye contact.
Learning to make eye contact is a great way to feel more confident during conversations. This can be difficult for introverts, who often prefer to look away and not make direct eye contact (or are afraid of doing so). But there are ways you can learn how:
- Practice making eye contact with people you know well—your family, friends or coworkers. Start by looking at their face when they talk to you; try not to look at the floor or something else in the room while they’re talking. *Remember* though that even if your eyes are on their face, it doesn’t mean that your mind will be engaged in what they’re saying! If you find yourself thinking about something else while someone is talking…try looking down after each sentence and then back up again once they’ve finished speaking.
2. Take a short break.
Whether you’re in a meeting with colleagues or a lunch talk with friends, take a short break. Get up, walk around, and get something to eat or drink. Take some deep breaths and do some stretching.
If you’re an introvert like me who has spent hours alone at home working on your computer without interacting with anyone, you might start to feel your energy run low after an hour or so of conversation. Taking breaks is important for people like us because it allows us to recharge our batteries and keep going strong!
3. Don’t blur work and life boundaries.
You may be tempted to blur work and life boundaries, especially if you’re working at home. But don’t do it.
Don’t bring your work problems home with you, and don’t use your job as an excuse not to socialize or make friends outside of the office.
The more you can make a distinction between the two (and not just because of your introversion), the better off you’ll be.
4. Work in small chunks of time.
- Work in small chunks of time.
- Don’t try to do too much at once.
- Focus on one thing at a time.
In order to avoid getting overwhelmed, it’s important that you don’t attempt to accomplish everything on your list in one sitting. This can lead to burnout and stress, leaving you less capable of completing tasks effectively or efficiently later on down the line when you’re feeling depleted from trying so hard all day long!
Instead, break up your work into smaller chunks over time so that each task feels more manageable and easier for an introvert like yourself (who tends not be good with change).
5. Turn off distractions.
- Turn off your phone. Your phone can be a distraction, especially if you receive notifications from other people. Turn it off or put it on silent if you want to focus on writing an email or preparing for a meeting.
- Close your email and close other distracting software as well. If there is any chance that someone will send you an email about something important, make sure that software is closed so it doesn’t distract you while you’re working on another task.
- Use a timer to keep yourself accountable. It’s easier than ever to lose track of time when working online, so use timers like Pomodoro Technique which breaks up tasks into 25 minute segments with 5 minute breaks in between each segment (25 mins work / 5 min break). You’ll get more done in less time!
6. Have a “Just Say No” policy.
It’s important to set boundaries for yourself with the people around you. If someone is draining your energy, or if they don’t support you, it’s important to let them know that their behavior isn’t welcome. As an introvert, this can be especially difficult because of our tendency to care too much and not want to hurt anyone’s feelings by saying no. However, setting boundaries is necessary—otherwise we run the risk of burning out from overextending ourselves or being taken advantage of by others who take advantage of us.
As an introvert myself, I’ve had trouble setting boundaries for years because I didn’t want anyone to think badly about me (or worse yet, think that maybe I wasn’t as “nice” as they thought).
But over time, I’ve learned that saying no doesn’t mean that there’s anything inherently wrong with me—it just means that my personal needs are different than yours (and vice versa).
7. Create a meeting-free morning block of time.
In order to make sure you have time to get your work done, you need to create a morning block of time that is free from meetings. You may find it helpful to schedule this meeting-free block at the beginning of the day.
If possible, set aside approximately three hours for uninterrupted work before any distractions come up. In this way, you can tackle tasks that require more concentration and give yourself enough time on each task before switching gears again.
If necessary, speak with colleagues about how best to organize your schedule so that these blocks of uninterrupted work are available every day (or at least most days).
Introverts can be excellent communicators even if social situations are sometimes challenging.
Even if social situations are sometimes challenging, introverts can be excellent communicators. In fact, there are many famous introverts who excelled at communicating with others. Here are a few examples:
- Albert Einstein is considered one of the most influential scientists of all time and he was also a quiet person who preferred spending time in thought than in conversation. He said, “I have no special talents; I am only passionately curious.” But despite his quiet demeanor, he managed to communicate his groundbreaking theories on physics and other fields through written works and lectures that were held around the world.
- Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking says that she’s an introvert because her “humanity comes from being thoughtful” (Cain 2014). She writes about how she prefers writing because it gives her freedom from the constraints of spoken language which she feels limits expression (Cain 2012). This has allowed her to share ideas with millions across multiple platforms including books like Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking as well as TED talks like “The Power Of Introverts.”
We hope these tips will help you feel more confident in your communication skills. Introverts have a lot to offer the world, and it’s time we all learn how to understand each other better.