You have the right to remain silent

How to be a creative introvert

By Laura Parker, Advertising Creative

The creative industry is full of talkers. A big part of having a successful creative career is making yourself heard. Whether that’s in interviews, on social media or in business pitches - we’re told to self-promote. To own the room, give zero f*cks, stand up and be heard. Because a lot of the time, it literally pays to be extroverted.

But what if you’re not? What if, like me, you’re an introvert? Well what I’ve learnt is, it’s ok to embrace your quietness.

Over the years I’ve found different ways of doing this. Ways of showing that you don’t need to be a stand-up to stand out. To show that sometimes, those with the least to say speak the loudest. Ways that do justice to your creativity, without compromising who you are.

Here are some of the tips I’ve learnt along the way:

1. Listen and learn

The benefit of talking less means you have more time to listen. Use this to your advantage. Listen to the client - find out exactly what they want. Listen to creative directors, and really analyse their feedback. Listen to your audience, figure out how to grab their attention and resonate with them.

2. Do your research

Some ideas come from pure inspiration. Most don’t. Most come from people who’ve done their homework, really understand a subject, and really know how creativity can solve the problems. So take time to digest a brief, go away and do the research needed to get the best, most suitable idea.

3. Nurture your network

Introverts tend to do better at one-on-one relationships than in larger groups. So really harness your relationship skills with individual colleagues - designers, producers, photographers, other creatives etc. Work on building a network around you that you can rely on when you need it.

4. Commit to your craft

Become obsessed with it. Because the more you know your craft, the more confident you’ll be in what you do. And if you’re confident, people will sense it - whether you speak up about it or not.

5. B*llcks to brainstorms

More often than not, brainstorms are an opportunity for loud people to massage their egos, be centre of attention, and blurt out as many ideas as possible in an hour. (Anyone who says ‘there’s no such thing as a bad idea’ has clearly never been in a brainstorm.) In a space where it’s all about talking, not saying something can be mistaken for having nothing to say. If you’re an introvert, this is only bad news. So instead choose spaces where you can genuinely add value.

And above all, remember: just because someone is loud, doesn’t mean they’re right. Being an introvert isn't going to hold you back, it's about finding your voice and communicating in a way that works for you.

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