Fact: I love integrated communications and working with clients to create their ideal brand image.
Another Fact: I am an introvert.
Unfortunately, these facts don’t often go hand in hand. I wish I could just send emails and write client copy all day, but that’s just not the case. Because a “typical” day in communications often involves team meetings and client presentations, introverts have to work extra hard to be great at our jobs. It’s taken nearly all of my college career, but as I enter my senior year, I think I’ve finally found a few tips that fool others into thinking I’m just as outgoing as them.
Always Prepare Yourself
This one applies to everyone, but unfortunately “winging it” isn’t something most introverts are good at. Whether it be a client meeting, company brainstorm, or a class presentation- prepare, prepare, prepare. Do some research on that new client, start thinking about ideas for that open-ended brief, or force your roommates to watch your capstone presentation on repeat. It will be much easier to contribute to a group setting if you have an idea of what you want to contribute. You have just as many good ideas as the extroverts in the room, so don’t be afraid to make them known.
Spend Your Alone Time Wisely
As students, it may seem like we don’t get much down time between classes, internships, and extracurriculars. But when you get it, cherish it. Spend that time doing something that you enjoy, because if you’re not recharging that social battery, both you and your work will suffer.
This one is key for me. After I get home from work or finish a project, I know I need to spend a few minutes scrolling through TikTok or tidying my room before I can start my next task. Read that book, exercise, play with your pets, or whatever you need to do to disconnect for an hour or two. And when you find yourself one day overwhelmed at work, don’t be afraid to eat lunch alone some days, or to spend your break taking a walk around the block.
Embrace Your Skills
Yes, you may be an introvert, but don’t let that define you. Introverts tend to be great listeners, independent, self-aware, curious, observant, and to excel at written communication. Know what you’re good at, and play to those strengths. If you know that you work best when alone, don’t go to the library with your friends to “write” that essay. (Trust me- I know from experience) If you know you get distracted easily, don’t let your boss sit you next to the break area where your colleagues catch up on their weekends. This doesn’t mean you will never have an emergency client meeting or a group project again. Just remember what you’re best at, and embrace the skills you’ve been given.
There’s nothing wrong with being an introvert, but be prepared to adapt if you find yourself in the same position I’m in. We may be the minority, but why does that mean we aren’t just as good as our peers and colleagues? It won’t always be easy, but remember to embrace yourself and the skills you bring to the table.