Shy people can get famous

Success also goes quietly: 7 career tips for introverts

For many introverts, everyday office life is a challenge. Spontaneous calls or good-to-talk colleagues can easily get you off guard. They hold back in team meetings because they have the feeling that their ideas are not yet mature enough. And company celebrations are certainly not their thing.

Inward-looking colleagues can appear shy, disinterested or even incompetent on their team, but in no case like someone who should be given more responsibility in their job. But this impression is deceptive.

Introversion and extroversion: differences are innate

Introverts are not so cautious because they are antisocial, but because their brains were not designed to be around people all the time. If too many impressions from the outside world rain on her, she protects her brain from further overload and closes it.

It is hardly known that the brains of introverted and extroverted people function differently. In her book “Intros and Extros”, Sylvia Löhken shows that introverts have a particularly high level of electrical activity in the anterior cerebral cortex, that is, where many internal processes such as learning, planning and problem-solving take place. "Intros are measurably more intensely occupied with processing internal processes, extros more intensely with processing external impressions," says the author, who has been dealing with the topic for many years.

Introverts: Problem solvers with a great need for rest

Since inward-looking people carefully analyze every single impression from the outside world inside, too many external stimuli must not storm on them so that they still feel comfortable. In order to be able to work well, they need one thing above all else: rest.

But when they get it, they are capable of top performances that extroverts rarely achieve. Introverts are usually particularly good at analyzing information, working out concepts, and developing solutions to complex problems. Skills that are urgently needed in many companies. In addition, they work deeply into topics without any problems and stick with them even if there are initially no positive results.

Success tips for introverts

If quiet people manage to adapt their work situation as well as possible to their needs and to make their own achievements visible, they have just as good chances of professional success as extroverts. We asked intro expert Sylvia Löhken for the best tips for quiet people in the professional world.

Tip 1: operate a home office

Working at home is good for inward-looking people. The familiar environment protects against overstimulation and there is no risk of interruptions from spontaneously called meetings or communicative colleagues. Sylvia Löhken recommends relying on the home office, especially for complicated tasks, and pointing out to superiors the advantages this brings. For example, by announcing: "I won't come to work until around noon on Friday, but I will bring the finished concept with me."

Tip 2: create a pleasant working environment

In order to be able to concentrate well, inward-looking people should make their workplace as pleasant as possible. In her latest book “Quiet People - Good Life”, Löhken advises you to ask yourself the following questions from time to time:

Do you like your chair? The colors and pictures on the walls? Can you handle the background noise? Does your office or private room smell good?

Tip 3: retreat to empty conference rooms

If home office is not an option, there is an alternative: “Hijack empty conference and meeting rooms,” recommends Löhken. Since all of them are rarely fully booked, they can offer employees in need of rest a place of retreat. “But don't say, 'I'm an intro, I can't work like this. ʼ ”, adds Löhken,“ but: 'There is a free conference room back there. I'll be finished much faster if I retreat there for three hours now. '"

Tip 4: cut out all distractions

Since introverts can easily lose concentration due to distractions, they should regularly incorporate undisturbed times into their everyday work. That means: being unreachable for unexpected visitors, mobile phone off, no e-mails and no social media either. According to Löhken, it helps to only process e-mails twice a day and to always schedule phone appointments within certain time frames.

Tip 5: prepare for meetings

Inward-looking people often find it difficult to make their work achievements visible. They have usually worked their way into topics more deeply than everyone else on the team, but since they say little in meetings, nobody notices. In doing so, they are not silent out of shyness, but because it is difficult for them to express thoughts that they think are half-baked.

As a counter-strategy, Löhken advises thinking in advance which points they would like to bring to the meeting. “Instead of trying to say as much as possible in the meeting, rather just say something once or twice, about the things that I have prepared. Preparing is something that helps introverts enormously, ”emphasizes the author.

In her book, she also points out that studies fundamentally question the effectiveness of teamwork, as performance continues to decline with increasing group size. According to Löhken, anyone who wants to achieve their best should always make sure to work alone anyway.

Tip 6: Networking through one-on-one discussions

All in all, Sylvia Löhken, who is herself an introvert, is convinced that inward-looking people should above all focus on one-on-one conversations in order to contribute ideas and draw attention to their achievements.

In her book "Quiet People - Good Life", she explains that introverts, like extroverts, value a life in community, but that they define community differently:

Intros prefer in-depth contacts and a trusting exchange with a few people, instead of maintaining a less binding exchange with many people.

According to her, this preference can also be used for networking. On the one hand, Löhken advises meeting individual colleagues or superiors for dinner on a regular basis and speaking specifically about one's own work.

On the other hand, she suggests using one-to-one conversations at conferences instead of throwing yourself into the crowd and going home shortly afterwards due to overstimulation:

Think in advance who you would like to get to know at the event and simply send an email in advance asking for an appointment. This is completely different than when you hit the person from the side between coffee and the next lecture.

According to the author, this procedure not only conserves the introvert's energy reserves, but also leaves a particularly positive impression on the person addressed. Löhken is of the opinion that the most promising discussions - i.e. those through which a concrete professional collaboration comes about - are always held in a small group at conferences anyway.

Tip 7: work with extroverts

After all, Löhken sees it as a recipe for success for inward-looking people to work with extroverts. It is important to consider how the strengths of both partners can best be combined.

If, for example, a customer is to be convinced of the work of their own company through a presentation, "you let the extro present and the introverted colleague is available afterwards for questions that go into depth." Sylvia Löhken is sure that the combination of a dynamic presentation and calmly displayed expert knowledge achieves the best results.

If you want to know more: An interview with Sylvia Löhken about the strengths and weaknesses of introverts can be found here.