“I get tired easily from making small talk with people at work. It’s an effort. I wish I was as outgoing as others.”

Margot, one of the participants in Elevate, my flagship leadership training programme for women, shared recently.

I could relate to Margot’s story.

People often assume that I am an extrovert – partly because I enjoy public speaking and workshop facilitation, and I am a good networker.

Nope. Not at all.

I am an introvert.


Since my childhood, I had a hard time tolerating superficial conversation, arbitrary rules, and loud, disorganised environments. As a teen, I preferred snuggling up with a book than going to a noisy party.

My choice of journalism as my first profession was born out of introversion: I liked people and found them fascinating but didn’t enjoy attention. My reporter’s notebook and dictaphone (*a small cassette voice recorder) allowed me to reverse sides and feel in charge of the conversation.

As an executive coach and soft skills facilitator, I have learned how to leverage my introverted power, and use my strengths to my advantage.

If you are an introvert — most commonly defined as people who get their energy from alone time rather than socialising (as first categorised by Carl Jung), you probably did well, better than your extrovert colleagues, during the pandemic, in remote work mode.

Now, back in the workplace, you might be struggling with the pressure to sit through daily meetings, attend social events, chit-chat with colleagues at coffee machines and stay productive while working in noisy open offices.

Below I have distilled the key techniques and insights to help you advance your career while respecting your introversion, and to harness the power of your introversion to boost your influence and charisma.


Accept your introversion and be unapologetically genuine.

Dear introvert, you are entirely normal. Introverts make up to 50% of the population, and your personality type is not a handicap in any way to being a great communicator and an inspiring leader. In fact, many successful leaders were (are) introverts. Think of Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, Barak Obama, Mark Zuckerberg, Michael Jordan, Mahatma Gandhi – all described as introverted.


You don’t have to be the loudest or the most outgoing person in the room to be successful. 

Find your space.

Ex-President Obama’s daily schedule included 3-4 hours of working in solitude nearly every evening. Why? Because, unlike extroverts, who recharge by being around other people, the introverts get their energy back by being alone.


Time alone provides the introverts with the sacred ground they need to step into our power and show up as our best selves.

Extroverts process their thoughts out loud, whereas we need space and solitude for self-reflection. There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s simply the way an introvert’s brain works. That’s why carving out the quiet time isn’t just a nicety but a necessity for introverts.

The time alone allows you to come up with your best creative ideas.


You may notice that the more time for reflection time you take for yourself, the more present and effective you can be when you are with your team or family.


Choose wisely.

We live in a culture that glorifies being busy. If you’re not constantly running around, getting things done, then you’re not productive, maybe even lazy. However, this is not the case, especially for introverts, who need more downtime than others to recharge.


Protect your energy by being very intentional with how you spend your time.


Whenever possible, carefully consider which meetings, events, people, and relationships are best suited to you and your goals. When you have rules that protect your energy, you are at your best for the people who need you.


Learn to prioritise.

Find a prioritisation system that works for you. Minimise cluttered scheduling and eliminate the things from your to-do list that don’t fit with your vision for your life and career. Avoid scheduling back-to-back meetings – that’s the shortcut to an introvert burnout. Try to set at least 30 minutes as buffer time between meetings.

If you are working in the hybrid mode and can alternate between working one day in the physical office and one day at home, you will be much more productive.


Set boundaries and get comfortable saying “No.”

If you want to stop being busy and become more effective, you need to start saying “No”. If saying “No” right away feels too uncomfortable, buy yourself some time. For example:


Pushy colleague/manager: “Can you take on an extra project (client/task/report) next week?”

You: “Hey, I’d love to help out, but let me check my schedule first. I’ll get back to you asap.”

This gives you time to assess the request. Maybe you do want to do it. But if you don’t, it gives you time to come up with a way to say “No” or an alternative solution.


To read the full article with the remaining techniques and tips, go to my LinkedIn page.

If you find it useful or have an opinion to share, please let me know by leaving a comment or replying to this email.


Own your introverted genius, and focus on your unique strengths not weaknesses today, my friend.