Whatever path your career takes, you are going to be interacting with people on a daily basis. Whether you’re in a shop, a ship, or an office, you’ll have to navigate meetings, confidently take phone calls and make conversation with colleagues and customers.
If you are someone who is naturally shy and already finds interacting with new people hard, the added pressure of a professional environment can be completely debilitating. But, that doesn’t mean you should settle for hiding in the background at work!
Below are 5 tips to help you increase your career confidence:
If you find it hard to speak up, it can feel like you spend your whole life listening to other people. The next time you’re in a meeting or in conversation with a colleague ask yourself: are you really listening, or are you just spending the time they’re speaking being nervous about what you’re going to say next?
Worrying like this in interactive situations is only going to make you more self-conscious, so try to really concentrate on what’s being said by other people. Keep eye contact with the speaker, or, if it’s appropriate, focus on taking notes. Being less anxious about how your responses are going to be perceived should make you better equipped to respond when you are called upon to speak.
Making presentations at work can be nerve-wracking and agonizing for introverts. The important thing is to focus on the aspects of the event you can control ahead of time. Being prepared doesn’t mean just thoroughly researching your topic and having notes, it means practice.
Katie Reed is an online recruiter for RBS Insurance, a UK-wide provider of insurance jobs. She suggests testing your speech out on different audiences: “Choose a trusted friend or colleague as a guinea pig to present to and build up from there to larger groups. They will give you constructive criticism and hopefully allow you to practice over and over until you feel comfortable!” It’s also not a bad idea to practice at least once in the office you’ll be presenting in so you can familiarize yourself with the room’s layout and acoustics.
[Related Post: 4 Amazing Presentation Tricks]