I have a confession: I am an introvert, and, to top it off, I am shy.
People can't believe it: "But you work in communications, you go on
camera, you have to be a people person to be in communications!" Not
true. It's my job
to tell stories, deliver the message, and help connect the dots for
people. It's not my job to be the life of the party.
It's dinged me on performance reviews: "Be more assertive!" It's dinged
me in relationship building: "Catherine is a bit aloof." It's dinged my
confidence: "Why won't any words come out of my mouth right now?" But it
hasn't dinged my ability to do my job.
This is how I have managed my introverted self in an extroverted world:
I take walks—a lot of them throughout
the day. My energy gets zapped by people (classic description of an
introvert), and the way I rejuvenate my energy is to walk
alone. I have had fabulous brainstorms by myself on the path outside our
I grin and bear it.
I have about a 45-minute window when I can fake it. If I have a networking event to go to and I really have to be on, I don't schedule drinks with
someone beforehand nor dinner afterward, because I know it will stress me out.
3. I order room service.
When I travel, I make sure I have at least one night to myself. If I don't, it wrecks me for the week.
4. I do coffee.
Breakfast, lunch, or dinner meetings can be stressful: "What will we
talk about before the food comes? What if they order dessert?"
5. I devour pop culture.
I'm a pop culture junkie, and it's my golden ticket for conversation
starters. Who doesn't want to talk about "Game of Thrones"? (No, really,
Who doesn't adore Jimmy Fallon, and who hasn't heard the song, "Let it
6. I build relationships 1:1:
I don't do well in large groups, but I put a lot of time and energy into
building and maintaining relationships one to one. I want to get to
and truly value all my relationships. Once someone knows me and I know
them, I relax. You might even say I become an extrovert.
And with that, I am going to go take a walk.
Catherine Fisher is part of the communications team at LinkedIn,
where she is responsible for consumer PR, social media, and member