You finally decided to improve your working life by joining a coworking space. However, there is still something that prevents you from taking full advantage of it.
[Tweet “If #networking causes you stress, and if you happened to avoid small talk at the coffee machine…”] well, there is one simple fact: you might be an introvert. And it’s all good news for you. Read on!
Contrary to common belief introverts do enjoy company, they just prefer quality over quantity of relationships. Introverts like to have time to themselves to recharge, but they don’t like being alone. I am surprised at how many of my coworkers at Betacowork define themselves as introverts. It is clear that you don’t need to be an extrovert to join a coworking space. In such places, you can surround yourself with people who you like, whenever you want, and the best thing is that interacting is not an obligation: you choose when to interact and whether to participate or not in the networking events that are organized.
Being myself an introvert, I am willing to share with you some practical (and proven!) tips to help you handle your anxiety.
Accept your personality: introvert and successful
Accept your personality and don’t live with it as a weakness: be aware of your abilities and be confident in yourself. [Tweet “#Introversion has a lot of strengths. To list just a few…”] introverts can be really good communicators, they can hold meaningful conversations, they are great listeners and advisers. Introvert people can be the ones that are able to be more empathetic and close to others. They just need to break the ice and to trust the person they are relating to.
Introvert does not mean antisocial: introverts can be very social, and can even become the soul of a party if the circumstances allow for it!
Start with approaching one single person
Introverts don’t do well in large groups, but they are very good at one to one conversation. Start with that: once you know that person, and that person knows a bit about you, you will feel relaxed. And you may even say you become an extrovert 🙂
Start with introverts like you
Look around you and find out what other people have in common with you. One of my coworkers used to take a break and enjoy his coffee alone. One day he noticed that a girl was holding one of his favorite book in her hands. He had seen her before, but never introduced himself nor said hello. He just caught the opportunity and engaged in a conversation around the book. This was the beginning of a friendship and, who knows, even a professional collaboration.
Accept small talk
If you are an introvert, you probably dislike small talk. You find it really hard to hold the hi-how are you-fine thanks-and you kind of conversation. Don’t stop there: you have the power to turn this into a meaningful conversation. Try to create a connection with the person that is in front of you, and get to know him/her. [Tweet “Small talks can be the beginning of an interesting conversation: it’s up to you!”]
Do what you are afraid to do
Push yourself a little bit by taking a small step outside your comfort zone: change your seat, speak to one stranger per day, launch yourself in the crowded kitchen and say hi. When you know that you will be able to interact with people, organise and prepare your thoughts: it will help you to break the ice.
Make extrovert friends
Speak to one extrovert: he/she will help you to socialise and meet more people. If you don’t like drawing attention on yourself, just start asking questions and listening.
Take your time and personal space
If you are in one of those moments when you need to be by yourself to focus or recharge, go to your desk and put your headphones on. Many coworking spaces also provide quite areas, relax corners or silent rooms (library style). At Betacowork, we have a dedicated office for quietness lovers and a relax room with beanbags, sofas, books and a baby foot table.
In conclusion, coworking spaces are an ideal environment for introvert workers: places where serendipity, casual and informal interaction, exchange of ideas coexists perfectly with the autonomy and the respect of each other’s personal space
[Tweet “#coworking spaces are an ideal environment for #introvert workers: places where #serendipity, casual and informal interaction, exchange of ideas coexists perfectly with the autonomy and the respect of each other’s personal space”].