Living as an introvert has its advantages. For example, you’re much less likely to cause a scene out in public. You probably don’t feel compelled to spend money on extravagant parties and social events. However, sometimes it’s good to have the ability to tap into and take advantage of more extroverted qualities.
In business, relationships and everyday life, you’re bound to face situations that demand you to speak out and expose yourself to attention. So how can you become more comfortable doing this, even if you’re not naturally inclined to it? The answer is as simple as you think. You just have to take the plunge and go for it, but there are ways to make that less daunting.
Signing up to be on Family Feud next month is probably more than you’re willing to take on, so give yourself manageable opportunities to test more exposed situations. As you do this, focus on improving your body language and behavior to help strengthen your extroverted qualities. No one is fully introverted or extroverted, despite the fact that some people exhibit very pronounced association with one side of the social spectrum.
A good way to do this might start with spaces you know. Try making conversation with a coworker you don’t know very well at the office. Next, try introducing yourself to someone you work with but don’t know at all. Invite some new friends over for a happy hour or dinner at your place. By keeping the setting familiar, you maintain at least one known factor in the social equation. If you’re comfortable with the setting, you can focus your energy on talking with the guests you invited.
Let’s imagine that your prerogative for becoming more extroverted stems from the need to be more forward in your role as a salesperson. The success of your career depends on your progress, so you need to make sure you move the proverbial needle. How do you provide evidence to yourself that you’re improving your social skills?
Try choosing a set period of time — maybe two weeks — and committing to saying yes to social opportunities during that time period. Say yes to the events made available to you for the next two weeks, and see how it goes. Temper the anxiety of social exposure by giving yourself a “safety valve” of sorts. For example, if after 45 minutes of interactions, and you don’t enjoy the event, you can go home.
Another means of practicing is to place yourself in less high-pressure situations where you can flex that extrovert muscle. For example, go and check out a used car. Even if you’re not in the market for one, give yourself the opportunity to chat and negotiate with a salesperson to flex your extroverted muscles. Car salesmen are known for their extroversion, so you shouldn’t have any problem making contact. Just make sure you have enough nerve not to get chided into buying a car you had no intention to go home with.
The little pieces of the larger extrovert equation can be fun things to practice to build confidence. For example, practice smiling. Say hi to a stranger on the street, or strike up a conversation with your neighbor at a restaurant when you hear them refer to a common interest of yours. Ask your friends to invite you to a fun game night or trivia event. Social exposure could make a difference in your business life.
Put Yourself Out There
Remember this isn’t about changing who you are as a person, rather to develop social skills to serve you well in many situations. Even if you don’t naturally veer toward extroverted behavior, don’t allow it to ruin your social experiences. It might seem uncomfortable at first, but with time, you may be surprised at how much you come to enjoy the practice.
Photo provided by the author.