There are all kinds of people in a workplace… Outspoken, gregarious types, and shy, timid types. And that’s OK, everyone is different.
The problem with that is, even though we’ve moved beyond high school, popularity contests still exist in real life. People still gravitate towards others who are outgoing, friendly, outspoken, and give off high energy because they are exciting and dynamic.
Although it might not be the case, these people seem like they have more to offer, because they put themselves out there. This means that people who are quiet or shy – or introverted – by nature are often overlooked and excluded from employee coffee breaks and lunch dates.
This may not sound like a big deal to the introverts, who actually prefer to spend time and recharge on their own. But their behavior can actually be a detriment to their own careers. If co-workers, bosses, or even peers notice others first every time, introverts may be passed over for opportunities for more responsibility or promotions. Simply said, that’s not good.
If you’re new to a workplace, or shy, this article is for you.
5 Ways to Be More Approachable at Work
- Invite People When You Go Out for Coffee or Lunch
The next time you need a coffee break, ask your officemate or one of your colleagues to join you. Even if you’re shy, start with one or two people – it’s much easier to converse in small groups than in large ones.
It’s a small overture, but it will make you seem friendlier and more approachable. Ask your colleagues about their weekend plans, their kids, how their projects are going – whatever is easiest for you.
- Suggest, Instead of Expressing Your Opinions
If your office is political, and you’d rather stay neutral, you can offer suggestions to discussions rather than state where you stand on contentious issues. This way, people will see you as involved, but not overly aggressive. And besides, you provide value, which is why you were hired, and most likely have valuable input.
- Mingle In In After-Hours Hang Outs
Most offices have them – happy-hour gatherings where colleagues can let their hair down and talk about upcoming vacations, plans, sports, and other leisure activities. The next time someone plans an outing or happy hour trip down the pub, join in – even if you are only stopping in for half an hour. Making an appearance counts.
- Don’t Make Your Co-workers Look Bad
Some people need to be handled with kid gloves, and you need to respect them, and be careful not to step on any toes. Gently offer suggestions, but don’t come right out and say someone is wrong.
- Think Twice About Complaining to Management
Next time something goes awry, don’t take the issue to management. You’ll be seen as a tattle-tale. Instead, try to talk out the issue with your colleague before escalating the matter. Usually, you’ll be able to come to some kind of a compromise.
Remember, being quiet and reserving your comments for the big things can mean more than damaging a social life at work. It can mean that an employee is passed over for projects, passed over for promotions, and gossiped about. People can form unfair opinions of those they can’t relate to or don’t like. For your own sake, find your voice at work, and speak up.