Ihuoma Ike is an experienced Executive Assistant, Storyteller, and Communications enthusiast with over three years of proven record, managing multiple roles in the FMCG and other sectors.
Why should someone who is easily drained by interacting with others choose to pursue a career that requires them to communicate with others? Maybe because introversion is a characteristic, and not an excuse.
If you have an introverted personality, then often, job posts looking for “dynamic, outgoing candidates with exceptional communication skills” are not the most appealing roles to you. When applying for roles, you might even feel like the business world in general was not built for you.
If that’s the case, how can introverts bud and thrive as Comms and PR professionals, without feeling like they are on a wild goose chase?
1. Debunk the myths.
There are lots of untrue myths shared about introverts which have become stereotypes. Some of the most common ones are:
- Introverts are not good leaders and public speakers; being an introvert doesn’t limit your ability to convey proper ideas in any way.
- Introverts don’t like to talk; truth is, they prefer selective speech.
- Introverts are shy; while true for some, others just prefer to take on the observer role and let others lead the discussions.
- Introverts are agoraphobic; they’re just internally stimulated.
Bottom line, not all extroverts are master communicators and not all introverts are terrible at communications. Debunking the myths will help clearly differentiate otherwise frequently misplaced characteristics.
2. Focus on your strengths; amplify them.
When referring to Comms and PR professionals, it is easy to immediately imagine someone who loves speaking in public, compering, and organizing events, and being in the spotlight. Introverts have some of the most required skills for any Comms & PR profession. These are a few:
- Introverts are great listeners.
- Introverts build deep relationships.
- Introverts are strategists.
- Introverts are adaptable.
Assess your strengths and understand how they add value to any communications or PR department, agency, or business. This will help you build confidence in what you bring to the table, be secure in your career as a professional, and in your role working with clients and stakeholders.
Bonus tip: If the best feedback you have received, for example, has been about a blog post, work on amplifying your writing skills. Grow your expertise, and carve a niche for yourself.
3: Invest in mentorship.
There are others who have walked the paths you are currently on. They could be peers or senior colleagues at work, professionals in other organisations, or even across the world. Get online and offline and connect with them, whether books, people, videos, or courses.
There are also several mentorship programmes available that can help you navigate your core strengths, and also opportunities for improvement. Watch out, and be sure to apply for the next batch of The Comms Avenue’s Comms Mentoring Programme.
4. Let strategy lead.
How do you find a good balance between importance and convenience? Have a strategy! Being deliberate and tactical are traits that come naturally to introverts, so even while you focus on and amply your strengths, you must set yourself up to expand your capacity. To thrive in a Comms and PR profession as an introvert, you will need intentionality and strategy.
- Prepare ahead of meetings & schedule commitments well in advance.
- Form one-on-one relationships with teammates/co-workers and clients at meetings, events, etc., rather than group ones.
- Don’t force yourself to speak more than you must. The point is not to make a point, but to contribute something that is useful and insightful.
5. Be open to step out of your comfort zone and grow.
It’s important to keep in mind that being an introvert is a characteristic and not an excuse. Your role is strategic to the development and growth of your organization and so you need to be open and prepared for expansion.
In summary, as introverts in the world of Communications and PR, your success is driven by your ability to be flexible, listen, understand, strategize, and make deep connections with the people. Don’t take those skills for granted. Use them to guide you and rise to the top of your career.
While it is important to have your quality “processing time”, as this is really where your creativity is fuelled, it is equally necessary to consciously practice socializing.
Next, we will possibly share guides on how senior Comms and PR Managers can better maximize potentials of their introverted team member. For now, this guide will serve as useful tools for budding introverted Communications and PR professionals.