At 22, I received my first managerial position and struggled within the first few months.
I literally would get anxiety when I had to use my voice to speak with my team or when I was responsible for leading strategy meetings with internal and external partners.
If I had it my way back then, I would've definitely preferred to do all of my work from the comfort of my laptop instead of verbally and physically engaging with other people. I know it may sound crazy, but I used to be the introvert of all introverts. Over time, I had to learn how to crawl out of my shell and speak up because by not doing so, it wasn't serving my team or clients, and it definitely wasn't helping me in my career.
If the 22-year-old version of me is speaking to your ministry and you need some real tips on how to speak up at work so that your skills and value aren't ignored, keep reading.
Know that being a boss is in your DNA.
People often assume that extroverts make better leaders because they are more talkative and visibly energetic, but research shows that introverts are actually more effective leaders when placed in difficult and unexpected situations. So if you're an introvert, own that shit. You were born to lead.
Don’t sleep on your alone time.
As an introvert, you thrive when you're able to work alone. This not only makes you happy, but if you're like me, it gives you energy because there are no distractions or people to throw your vibes off. If you're getting ready to enter a meeting or a networking event with your team, make sure that you take advantage of your alone time so that you can recharge. When you're energized and have had time to take care of you, you're more likely to better engage with others.
Always be prepared.
Oftentimes in team meetings, if you're an introvert, you may opt-in for quietly taking notes instead of engaging in the conversation. If so, try getting the meeting agenda ahead of time and practicing what you want to contribute prior to the meeting. By being aware of what's going to be discussed and practicing what you're going to say, it'll make you more confident once the time to speak is here.
Take advantage of 1:1s.
As an introvert, you're probably more comfortable with speaking one-on-one with a colleague instead of talking with groups of people. If so, use this to your advantage to network within the company and share your expertise. For most managers, it's mandatory that they have one-on-ones with their employees, so use these opportunities to get to know your boss better, ask for tips on your professional growth, and of course, talk about the value that you've brought to the team. Like always, prepare what you're going to say ahead of time (write it down if needed) and you'll be on your way to making your next one-on-one meeting worthwhile.
Speak like the queen you are.
How you speak about yourself and whatever else you're talking about will showcase your confidence. It's important that when you communicate, you remove vocabulary that hints at self-doubt or uncertainty. When you talk, intentionally practice speaking affirmatively and with authority. Limit phrases and words like "I think," "probably", and "maybe", and try to remove filler words like "ummm".
The more you speak with authority, the more confidence will exude from you.
Watch your body language.
The way that you carry yourself sends an incredibly strong message about who you are and your confidence. When you're at work, be mindful of the way you stand or even sit at your desk. Hold your chin up, your back straight, and don't be scared to look at your team members in the eye when talking. I know from experience that it'll be awkward AF in the beginning, but if you do this regularly, you'll begin to feel relaxed and comfortable in your own skin.
Be unapologetic when you boss up.
I recently heard someone say, "If I don't root for me, who will?" People often miss out on opportunities because they're uncomfortable with tooting their own horn. Always remember queen, promoting yourself and sharing your wins isn't bragging. If you don't share what you do and your accomplishments, how will someone know that you're the best person for "X" opportunity? Find and/or create opportunities where you can update your boss and coworkers about your wins and your contribution to projects that have gone well. A few ways you can do this is by sharing it in a one-on-one, updating it on your LinkedIn profile, or self-nominating yourself for an award at work if the opportunity presents itself.
Get comfortable with reclaiming your time.
Because you're an introvert, people will probably cut you off when talking at a meeting. When that happens, don't fret, take it like a boss. Regain your chill and control of the conversation by throwing up the church finger and politely reclaim your time by saying, "Great feedback [insert name here]. I actually had a couple more thoughts to share with you on that." From there, finish speaking and then take control of the conversation by asking for feedback on what you just shared.
As you enter your workplace and start implementing these tips, keep in mind that you're doing both you and your company a disservice by not speaking up at work and being vocal about your value and expertise. You're a boss woman in your own unique way so never let being an introvert keep you from getting the opportunities that were created for you.
Featured image by Shutterstock.
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- The Introvert's Guide to the Workplace | Book by Thea Orozco ... ›
- You don't need to yell to be heard | LinkedIn ›
- Struggling to be Heard in Meetings? Tips for Introverts ›
- How To Survive (And Even Thrive) As An Introvert At Work | HuffPost ... ›
- Rochelle Barrish: A quiet, shy introvert's guide to being seen & heard ›
- Are You An Introvert? 8 Ways To Make Introversion Your Superpower ›
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Actress Jada Pickett Smith has provided an update about her journey with alopecia years after discussing the struggles she endured with the condition.
According to the National Institutes of Health, alopecia is an autoimmune disease in which the "immune system attacks hair follicles and causes hair loss."
The site also states that those suffering from alopecia could lose their hair in small patches or large clumps. Alopecia can affect men and women of all races equally, and signs of the condition could occur at any age. Despite the negative impact, there are no known causes for alopecia. However, medical professionals claim that genetics and environmental factors can play a significant role.
In a recent Instagram post, Pinkett Smith revealed that her hair is attempting to "make a comeback" as she showcased a past bald photo of herself and a present-day image. In the newer snapshot, the mother of two is seen rocking her hair growth.
In addition to the upload, Pinkett Smith informed her followers that even though she is still experiencing "trouble spots," it is still being determined if she will continue growing out her hair.
"This here hair is act'n like it's try'n [to] make a comeback. Still have some trouble spots but — we'll see," she wrote.
Jada On Her Experience With Alopecia
Pinkett Smith initially opened up about her experience with alopecia during a 2018 Red Table Talk episode. In the show, the star revealed that she excessively wore turbans and cut her hair because it was falling out.
"A lot of people have been asking why I've been wearing turbans. Well, I haven't talked about it. It's not easy to talk about, but I am going to talk about it," she said. "I was in the shower one day and had just handfuls of hair in my hands, and I was just like, 'Oh my god, am I going bald?' It was one of those times in my life where I was literally shaking in fear. That's why I cut my hair and why I continue to cut it."
Years later, in July 2021,The Matrix Resurrections alum shaved her head bald due to her hair loss. In December of that same year, Pinkett Smith showed her legions of followers in a video the side effects she had been experiencing, including an unexpected bald line that appeared across her skull as she sported a low buzz cut.
"Y'all know I've been struggling with alopecia," she stated while describing the bald line. Now this is going to be a little bit more difficult for me to hide, so I thought I'd just share it so y’all not asking any questions. I'm just gonna make me a little crown — that's what Mama's gonna do."
With Pinkett Smith sharing her alopecia journey, it could inspire others to be open and support others going through similar struggles.
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Featured image by Amy Sussman/WireImage