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Shy and soaring

How introverts can outshine charmers

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by on
in Workplace Communication

You don’t have to speak in a booming voice and offer an extra-firm handshake to make your presence felt. Even if you’re painfully shy, you can use your soft-spoken demeanor to get ahead.

While boisterous, charismatic people often hold court, that doesn’t make them better qualified to move up. In fact, a wallflower can quietly nab promotions by producing superior work. Here’s how:

Stick to substance. It may take a loudmouth five minutes to answer a simple question. A more reserved person can provide short, sweet responses that give bosses exactly what they need to know.

“I’ve found that gregarious employees tend not to answer my questions headon,” a small business owner tells us. “But the shy ones don’t mince words. They listen better and reply faster.”

Speak on paper.
You’re full of ideas but you hate to talk about them. Don’t let that stop you. Put your proposals in writing and send them to your boss.

Lace your memo with briefly stated analysis and evidence. Boldly state your recommendations. Expressing confidence and clear-headed reasoning in print can propel you past glib talkers who lack rigorous analytical skills.

Capture what others miss.
As someone who’s shy, you have instant credibility to tell the boss what you’ve seen or heard in the trenches. Position yourself as a sponge that absorbs what goes on around it. That way, you can become a valuable source of information to higherups. Win their trust and they’ll push you up the ladder.

Lower your volume. Even if you’re talkative, you may want to adopt one of the hidden assets of shy speakers: a soft voice. Why? When you turn down the volume, you make others perk up to hear you. And that means they’ll pay attention.

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