I spent too many years wondering why I didn’t fit at work. I didn’t speak up in meetings, I hated team away days and open-plan offices left me drained and unproductive. The phrase, “shall we brainstorm that?” left me feeling anxious. My best ideas came in moments when I had peace and quiet. If any of this sounds familiar to you, perhaps it’s because you are an introvert.

We do our best work when we know ourselves, and it may take some time to understand your introvert superpowers. In fact, over 40% of the population are also introverts. However, the world seems to value extroverts. The popular idea of a marketing team is a room full of enthusiastic people brimming with great ideas that they are eager to share. You might have experienced feelings of being less valued compared to your extroverted peers.

It’s important to recognise that introverts have many specific skills that make them invaluable at work. One of the key differences between introverts and extroverts is the way they communicate. An introvert’s communication process tends to be ‘think, say, think’. This means when introverts are asked a question, they want to give it due consideration. When they give their answer, it is what they really want to say. (The danger of course is that it can take time to think the answer through, and the conversation may have moved on by the time they are ready to speak.)

The extrovert process is ‘say, think, say’. They make sense of their thoughts by hearing themselves speak them out loud. For introverts, this can feel noisy and ill-considered, as if the speaker is wanting to be the centre of attention. For extroverts, this is an entirely sensible way to express themselves and order their thoughts.

What are the strengths of introverts? There are many and we don’t all possess all of them, but they include:

Listening skills

Introverts generally wait to speak until they have something to say. They take information in, process it and turn it around. This makes introverts excellent listeners and observers. So often they won’t say very much, but what they do is often relevant and important.

Critical thinking

Professor and author Dr Laurie Helgoe suggests that introverts tend to be more critical. As a result, they are more realistic when it comes to weighing feedback and analysing information. She says “Introverts internalize problems: we like to take things inside and work on them there.” There is a suggestion that introverts are less likely to look for external validation of ideas, being comfortable to think things through before speaking about it to anybody.


Introverts aren’t as easily led astray by happy distractions, such as recognition among peers, the number of social media followers they have or a fun new marketing app to try. Given the right conditions, they can focus on the important tasks.


If introverts can listen, think and focus with some degree of skill, it follows that they have the ability to consider and eventually solve a tricky problem. It takes staying power and determination to really understand what the problem is about and find the solution.

Active imagination

Because introverts don’t need external stimuli in the way extroverted colleagues do, they are much more comfortable working and thinking in solitude. They can take this time and space to simply think, which can present solutions to corporate challenges.

Given you have all these skills sitting quietly in the office, how can you make the most of your introvert skills at work?

Ensure quiet places to work

The move to open-plan offices has not allowed introverts to bring their best selves to work. Offering quiet places to think at work or supporting homework, where introverted colleagues can focus and problem-solve, will enable them to work more effectively.

Provide agendas or discussion points in advance of meetings

If you want introverted colleagues to contribute to any team working situation, share the agenda or ask in advance what you want to gain. Introverts appreciate the time to think about their contribution or the solution in advance rather than create one on the spot.

Don’t insist on doing it in an extrovert way

Your introverted team members are just as capable of giving presentations and making successful sales pitches, but they may want to do it differently from their extrovert counterparts. They may want to prepare their presentation in more detail or take time out after the meeting to recharge in solitude. Sales relationships may be forged one-on-one over time, leading to successful long-term relationships. Be clear about the outcome you want, but don’t dictate the process. Your introverted team members will find their own way to achieve the end goal.

Ultimately, introverts are a significant part of the working population and have valuable skills. Understanding those skills and looking after the introverts in your business, will ensure you get the most out of them at work.

Jenny Procter
Marketing Consultant at Bondfield Marketing | Website | + posts

Jenny Procter is a UK based marketing consultant, podcaster and author. Her new book “Marketing for Introverts, how to love it plan it and do it so you can quietly (and successfully) promote your business in a noisy world” is available on Amazon.