If you're someone who struggles in large meetings or impromptu work discussions, getting recognition can feel nearly impossible.
Entrepreneur, author and self-described introvert Morra Aarons-Mele knows this feeling all too well. Like many other introverts, she prefers one-on-one interactions, working in quiet spaces and can sometimes feel drained rather than energized after attending large social events, she writes in her book, "Hiding in the Bathroom."
"Introverts are people who need time and space to think," she tells CNBC Make It.
Though she recognizes that the simple "introverts vs. extroverts" dichotomy doesn't explain all workplace situations, she says the distinction can be helpful in helping people understand how to be more successful at the office.
"If you're introverted, it can mean some see you as standoffish or not ambitious," says Aarons-Mele, who runs her own marketing campaign company. "Especially for women. But you're not."
For introverted people, the entrepreneur suggests a three-step strategy that will help you feel less stressed and more confident in meetings.
If you're asked to share your thoughts but aren't ready to do so, don't make something up just to fill the silence. Instead, show your unique ability to listen to others, process large amounts of information and summarize different points.
You could say something like, "What I'm hearing is … " followed by your brief analysis of the discussion.
Doing so provides real value to your team. It can help the group regain focus and understand what's been talked about — something your time-strapped colleagues will probably appreciate.
You can also point out an interesting thought someone else shared, to draw attention to something others may have missed. In this way, you're conveying that you're attentive, detail-oriented and communicative, Aarons-Mele says.
After you provide your short summary, buy yourself time to think. Suggest that you follow up with more of your thoughts after the meeting.
You can say something such as, "I really want to think about this. I'm going to get back to you all with my thoughts after the meeting."
Doing this shows that you're serious about providing meaningful insight, Aarons-Mele says. It also conveys that you take your job seriously and want to take time to put in the extra effort.
Once the meeting is over, take a few minutes to write a detailed email with your response to the initial question, the author says.
Be sure to proofread it and edit it if it's longer than a few short paragraphs. This will help you stand out as a clear communicator.
"Introverts just tend to need a little bit of a different setting to do our best work. That's all it is," Aarons-Mele says. "It doesn't mean that we're less ambitious, that we're less smart or that we're not as enthusiastic."
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