08 Sep Do You Need To Be An Extrovert to Promote Your Business?
Tips for introverts in Business
I first became aware of the concept of introversion and extroversion in my teens, when I borrowed a book on the subject from the school library. I don’t whether it was the perception of the time, or just me at that age, but after reading it I felt thoroughly short-changed. There were all those extroverts out there, enjoying life, completely unaware of the turmoil people like me underwent to even speak up in class. It just wasn’t fair.
I haven’t yet read Quiet, The Power of Introverts in a world that can’t stop talking, but it’s in my bookcase waiting for me. I’m curious to see if others’ experiences are the same: a gradual coming to terms with the fact that I am not (comfortably) going to be the centre of attention, and the realisation that I don’t actually want that anyway…which is probably why I do my job best when I’m publicising other people rather than myself!
It’s interesting that most of my clients are introverts. I believe they know that I understand how uncomfortable self-promotion can be, for some people. Some of them, of course, are very comfortable with all this speaking and public appearance malarkey, but on the whole, it’s something they know they need to do for their business, rather than any big desire to “be famous”.
However, In my twenty or so years doing PR I’ve learnt a few tricks and facts that can comfort any introvert out there grappling with this. I thought I would share them with you today…
.1. Introverts rarely rely on the force of their personality to sell/sign on clients/conquer the world. We know that we need to know out stuff inside and out and it’s that quality that will win the day/sale/client
2. As introverts, we are used to listening and that’s a very important skill in business. What’s more, we are often able to pick up on all those nonverbal signals that people give up due to, frankly, all that people watching we may have done
3. Build in quiet time; time when you can think. This is vital for me, and often takes the form of swimming lengths. Even if I’m at a busy and social conference I find I need to take time out and on my own to make it work for me. Don’t bow to the pressure to be always busy, always socialising, always on.
4. If you’re nervous of picking up the phone, just remember that this is old school one on one conversation without all the background noise of social media or other people in the room. Listen to what they are saying. Really listen. If it’s a potential client or journalist ask them questions rather than bombarding them with a one way conversation about you. I had someone do that to me recently and I felt absolutely drained and exhausted by the end of our conversation
5. If you’re networking with people you don’t yet know, always head for the organiser who can introduce you to someone. Even better, get to know the organiser well, as they know everybody! Even better than that, organise your own networking event. Invite who you want to meet. Handpick who you want to network with, whether it’s a one to one over coffee or a mastermind evening. (Tip here: keep it simple!)
6. Keep a file full of lovely comments and testimonials from clients and take a sneaky look at it every now and again if you ever doubt yourself
7. One to ones are always better for getting to know people, even press
8. Even extroverts suffer from rejection. They aren’t immune. If you’re in business you need to develop the ability to shrug things off, or you should be looking for a job
9. I know I talk about how social media can be overwhelming at times, but it’s also a great short cut. You can contact a CEO of a company in South Africa in seconds via Linked in, use Twitter to make contact with a journalist who would never pick up the phone normally or invite your whole network to an event via Facebook in minutes. Think strategically about how you can use it to save both time and energy.
10. Your strongest network is the people you know already. Rather than wasting time and energy chasing new acquaintances, turn those you already know into friends.
One of the things I do when working with clients is to get to understand them so that I can create a PR and marketing strategy that works for them, whether they’re an extrovert or introvert, and this is something that’s very important in my Big Brand Builder programme.