It may be a new year, but if you identify as an introvert, those persistent pangs of shyness and reticence followed you right into 2016. That’s well and good on the weekends when you’re able to shut off and live life on your own terms. But what about at the office where your days are full of meetings, presentations and post-work events that require public-speaking prowess?
Instead of succumbing to the nerves, channel that energy in a positive way that earns the results you know you’re deserving of. And we’re here to let you in on a secret: You don’t have to change who you are to get what you want.
Click through to reference the cheat sheet below and watch your confidence grow right before your eyes.
1) Be prepared
It’s one thing to flub due to anxiety, but it’s another ball game when it’s because your didn’t sufficiently prepare yourself. Approach speaking opportunities with the same commitment as you would a college exam: Take notes, research the topic and practice, practice … and practice some more! Whether you’re giving a TED Talk in front of thousands or providing a progress report to your small team, the self-assurance that permeates when you’re prepared is usually enough to quell any concerns.
2) Remember you're not a robot
Ever found yourself dozing off on conference call because you just couldn’t even with the speaker’s monotone voice? Yeah, us too. For introverts, it’s easy to lose your personality for the sake of “professionalism.” But here’s the thing: You can be business-minded without being boring. Smile, ask questions and fill dead spaces with anecdotes—we promise no one will know how terrified you may be on the inside.
3) Keep the end goal in mind
My 11-year-old nephew Micah loves spending the weekend at my parents’ house because he gets to play games on the computer with virtually no interruptions. The caveat? He has to do his chores, complete his homework and be the all-around good kid my sister’s raised him to be. And even though you’re a decade or so older than Micah, incentives are a useful motivational tool for you too.
Could this presentation land you a new client? Think about what the business will mean for your brand. Meeting with the higher-ups to discuss a raise? Imagine how the bump in salary will alter your quality of living for the better. Don’t let short-term internal angst prevent you from long-term success.
4) Treat yo' self
And after you’ve knocked your presentation out of the way, celebrate with a treat. It could be a new bag, dinner at a fancy-smancy restaurant or a night in away from everyone. Whatever works for you.