Social interactions can be pretty exhausting when you're naturally introverted. However, since a ton of everyday situations require us to seem like we're genuinely enjoying our surroundings, knowing how to become more extroverted — or at least — seeming more extroverted, can be extremely useful.
And don't think there's anything wrong with being introverted. In a piece for Forbes, leadership researcher and professor Karl Moore said that introverts generally bring a lot to the table, noting that they're generally better listeners, don't need to be the center of a conversation, and wait to hear someone else's ideas before jumping in with their own. Moore found that introverts can actually make great leaders because of this.
However, the flip side of this is that Moore also discovered that often times introverted people can be wrongfully perceived as standoffish or uncaring, usually because they may not strike up conversation with coworkers around the office, or won't be the first to ask you how your weekend went. This means that acting like an extrovert even when you're faking it can truly pay off — especially in situations where it's important to make a good impression, like at job interviews or networking events.
If you're starting to fear that your introverted nature could be limiting you in any way, here are nine tips for appearing more extroverted that could majorly help you out.
1. Isolate The Root Of Your Discomfort
In a piece for The Feel Good Life, CEO and lifestyle blogger David Morin said it's important for introverts to recognize the source of their discomfort over socializing. Are you worried you'll run out of things to say? Are you afraid of being embarrassed? Does it just sound too tiring? Once you locate the source, you're better able to rationalize your way out of it. For example, yes, it may be tiring, but you only have to stay an hour and can then go home and watch Netflix. And yes, sometimes it might be hard to think of what to talk about, so go in with a few bullet points you know you can bring up when conversation starts to lag.
2. Be Receptive
In a piece for Forbes, career consultant Simon North said that a lot of times it's not that an introvert can't act extroverted when needed, it's more that they don't want to because of a pre-conceived notion that extroversion is somehow shallow. "You can overcome this mental barrier by making a list of all the extroverts in your life whom you like, love, respect or admire. List the qualities that you like in them and you’ll find that a lot of those characteristics stem from their dominant side. In the process, you may realize that [extroversion] can’t be that bad after all," he said.
3. Put On A Show
Simon also said that sometimes it can help to approach a social situation like an actor putting on a show. For the next however many hours or minutes, you will be playing the role of the extrovert. Try this out the next time you have a party or event and more likely than not you'll find you genuinely feel more extroverted while you do this.
4. Shift Your Focus Outward
Morin noted that one of the trademark traits of an introvert is being inside your own head a lot. Instead, he suggested just trying to be on receive. Don't think of what you need to say next or what you'll talk about when the conversation runs dry; instead just fully listen to the person you're conversing with and let that guide your responses and reactions.
5. Compliment & Transition
If one of your big socializing fears is simply how to start up a conversation, fear not. Entrepreneur and lifestyle blogger Kevin Kleitches recommended the "compliment and transition" strategy on a piece for The Huffington Post. "The fact is, everyone loves compliments," Kleitches said. He suggested simply saying you like someone's tie or outfit, and then transition into introducing yourself.
6. Say Yes
On a piece for Monster.com, Nancy Ancowitz, author of Self Promotion For Introverts: The Quiet Guide To Getting Ahead, said that one of the first and most important things you can do when attempting to be more extroverted is to simply show up to stuff. "While it may tax you to socialize too much, it’s important to get out there and be seen. Be smart and strategic about how and where you spend your time," she wrote. "Make an appearance, talk to a few key people, and then go home."
North also suggested simply looking around at extroverts you know and emulating their behavior. "Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, there will be people who are the opposite of you in your social group or your team at work. Observe what these people do differently from you and learn from them," he said.
8. Create A Rewards System
This is a personal tip that has always helped incentivize me to get out and do something I don't really want to do. If you go to an industry party with great networking opportunities and talk to at least three people, then allow yourself to swing by your favorite frozen yogurt place on the way home. Or buy yourself that little knickknack you've had your eye on.
9. Think About Your Goals
This last tip is also personal. Sometimes the best motivation for getting out and doing something you don't want to do is by keeping your end goals in mind. If you're not happy at your job and would love to make a change, then one of the best ways to do that may be through networking. Or if you really see yourself in a management position in your current company, then a friendly, personable demeanor in addition to your good work could be super important to getting there. Keeping your goals in mind can prevent you from being your own worst enemy.
Seeming extroverted can be a real challenge for those of us who are more introverted by nature. The good news is there are definitely ways to improve your socializing game, and it's truly not as hard or overwhelming as it looks!
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