I’ve been told I’m “too quiet” and yet I’ve always gotten high performance reviews. Is this holding me back?
Dear E. Jean: Is it possible for a reserved person to advance in a company? Most of my life, I’ve heard that I’m “too quiet.” And yet I’ve always gotten high performance reviews (many from people who joke around about my being so quiet). I like working hard and doing great things, but can I ever move up? —Mighty Mouse
Mighty, My Mushroom: Indeed. Your “high performance reviews” are probably happening because of (not in spite of) the fact that you’re quiet. These days, when there are 50 ways to sound like an ass before lunch, it’s a wise woman who knows when to stay mum. The deal is to sound smart when you do speak. So, assuming that you throw yourself at your work, always make your boss look good, and volunteer to solve problems before anyone else can put up her hand, let’s add an extra boost to your career. Combine one word from each of the two columns below:
Then stick your head over a coworker’s cubicle when she does something clever and say, “Hermione! Magnificent idea!” (You may preface this with a “Wow!” if you’re feeling particularly chirpy.) When you tell people their ideas are brilliant, they rapidly conclude that you are brilliant.
This historic! spellbinding! spectacular! tactic works with the brass, too, and only requires that you utter 9 or 10 extra words a week. But for those special occasions, combine one word from each column below:
Now. When you run into the VP of sales and have 13 seconds of her unswerving attention in the elevator, instead of replying to her “How are you?” with the expected “I’m fine,” don’t waste the moment. Say, “Miss Bassington! I’m fabulous! I gave those pathetic oafs over at [name of competing company] a thrashing by doubling our team’s profitability this week!”
People form as strong a bond (or sometimes stronger, as we’ve seen in the recent election) over things they hate as over things they love. And Mighty, darling, since one of the best ways to be promoted is to talk about your accomplishments in a way that also makes the company look good, let your wonder and happiness at your own achievement shine through. Good luck!