Being an introvert is great, but not during your company’s day-long “Get to Know Your Assistant Sales Manager” seminar.
Some experts believe introverts can fit better in extrovert situations by pretending to be extroverts. These experts also believe you can train a cocker spaniel to make a great cup of cappuccino.
Should you try being an extrovert just to fit in? Not if you’re comfortable in your solitary skin. The world can never have enough quiet souls in the back of the room, mumbling: “We work hard, play hard and kiss boss’ butt hard.”
But if you think acting like an extrovert will help get you through the day, get a promotion, or get to first base with Sally in Sales, here are some tips to guide you:
- Proper body language is key to being a good extrovert. Stand up straight and lean into conversations. Extroverts love to guess what the other person had for lunch. Plus, “Would you like a breath mint?” is a great conversation starter.
- Gesture a lot, the broader the better. It may be hard at first. Pretend you’re guiding a jet plane to the terminal.
- Smile. Extroverts are drawn to beaming faces. But be careful: A sudden transformation from sullen data analyst to Cheery Charlie can raise suspicions about psychotropic medication changes.
- Show you’re genuinely interested in others. Ask people what they think. Tip: Don’t walk away before they answer.
- Get people to talk about themselves. You’ll feel more connected. However, a word of warning: Listening to someone talk about their fifteenth trip to Disneyworld may not be easy. Keep your cell phone handy for a fake emergency call.
Pretending to be an extrovert requires practice. Here’s a helpful way to rehearse your conversations: Go to a large apartment building, press the door buttons, and ask each inhabitant over the intercom, “What do you do for a living?” Review your conversations as you’re sprinting away.
Not every introvert can pretend to go both ways. Remember: You’re still a fabulous person. Well, maybe not if you’re a criminal or a politician but you get the point.