How to Succeed as an Introverted Church Communicator
I recently read the book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. It’s a fantastically smart book about people’s personalities and how it causes them to engage differently in society.
Given how much I enjoyed the book, it probably doesn’t come as a surprise that I’m strongly introverted. Every personality test I take definitely reminds me of that—especially Myers Briggs, which tells me I’m an INFJ.
As a strong introvert working in communications, I was curious if I was the only one. How many other people like me work in an extroverted field while being an introvert? So I did a poll on the Church Communications Facebook Group.
This was obviously a question that resonated with people, because the poll got more than 500 responses. And the majority (60%) of those people admitted to being introverts. The rest was split between extroverts (22%) and ambiverts (17%). If you don’t know what an ambivert is, I’ll explain later in this post.
But how does being an introvert impact what I do as a church communicator? Is it a strength or a weakness? How can communicators use their personality to their advantage, rather than their detriment?
The first step is determining whether or not you’re introverted. This may be painfully obvious to you. But it never helps to confirm your self-awareness. The better you know yourself, the better you can understand why you act a certain way.
- Take a personality test—such as Myers Briggs or Enneagram.
- Ask other people around you.
- Keep track of how you choose to spend your time.
The next step after knowing who you are is being OK with it. You can always improve yourself, but don’t feel the need to change your personality to fit your role. If you’re an introverted church communicator, know it and own it.
Focus on What You’re Good At
There will be certain responsibilities and roles in church communications that won’t lend themselves well to introverts. Speaking on camera. Meeting new people at events. Leading meetings. These might be points of serious stress in your job.
Which is why it’s important that you focus on the things that you’re good at. Spend time doing the things that make you happy. Designing graphics. Proofreading the newsletter. Writing social media copy. Do what only you can do to make your church better.
That’s not to say that you can ignore those more extroverted responsibilities of your job. It just may mean that you need to find more support there. Find an extroverted volunteer who can do some of those things. Find ways that will allow you to grow into those skills.
Just be careful not to overextend or over-promise. Because that can lead to burnout.
Give Yourself Time to Recharge
The primary way people distinguish between extroverts and introverts is how you get your energy. Extroverts get their energy from being around people. Introverts typically get their energy from being alone. I don’t know about you, but that’s an accurate description of me.
Working in church communication can involve both working with people and working by yourself. There are plenty of meetings and events where you’ll have to interact with small or large groups. And if you’re like me, this can drain you both physically and mentally.
So it’s important that you find the time to regain that energy. Find safe spaces or rejuvenating activities that get you back into your groove. Know yourself enough to realize what drains you and what builds you back up.
Learn How to Work with Extroverts
Any good team or office is comprised of people with a range of different personalities. Having a diversity of identities is a good thing. It gives you a variety of perspectives to pull from. No one wants to (or should) work in a place where everyone is the same.
This means you’ll work with both fellow introverts and outgoing extroverts. Which is a good thing because it means they can cover some of the things you’d rather not do. But it also means you’ll have to learn how to understand different work and personality styles.
The best way to do this is build a relationship. It’s much easier to work with a person, no matter what their personality traits, when you have empathy with them. That works both ways, because having a relationship will help them to better understand your introvertedness.
Know You’re Not Alone
One of the other great things about posting this poll in the Facebook group was the discussion that it caused. There were more than 40 comments that organically cascaded from this poll. But perhaps my favorite was the last one.
“It’s good to see I’m not alone.” That’s the church communications community in a nutshell. Whatever you’re struggling with, there is someone else going through the same thing. No matter what challenges you face, you’re not the only one.
This is especially important for introverts, because we’re not always the first ones to open up or to seek help from other people. We are, however, more likely to connect with someone who is like us.