Being introverted doesn't mean you have to shut yourself off from the rest of the world, and it would be a shame if you did! Many of the most creative people in history have been introverts; many famous, talented and accomplished actors, artists, authors, scientists, and philosophers are/were introverts. What this means to you is that often what defines you as an introvert can also be used to create your success.
Introverts are sometimes called “subtle” and “quiet” but that doesn't mean that they (we) aren't making a huge difference in the lives of others. We can be just if not more successful than extroverts at things like networking, being an expert, and creating relationships because we have some distinct advantages that extroverts do not always share, such as an interest in expressing our thoughts clearly and precisely, developing a depth of knowledge and expertise on certain subjects, and the ability to create deeper (if fewer) relationships based on shared interests and understanding rather than simply shared experiences.
The primary practical difference between introverts and extroverts is that to be successful at meeting, working, or connecting with one or one thousand people, introverts usually require some amount of advance preparation, where extroverts are frequently comfortable “winging it” and feel less anxiety in unfamiliar and/or very stimulating situations and environments.
In order to give ourselves a significant advantage (or at least level the field) over the often more seemingly confident but frequently less prepared extroverts, we introverts can use these strategies to prepare ourselves intellectually and emotionally:
- Exert a certain measure of control over your environment by hosting the meeting or event so that you can focus on your objectives for the meeting as well as the comfort and ease of your guests rather than yourself.
- Get very clear about what you want to get from any interaction. Ask yourself, what is the ideal outcome for this interaction, how does it look, and what are the specific things that I want to happen?
- Plan exactly what you want to say when you introduce yourself, answer expected questions, and respond to unexpected questions (meaning those you don't have an answer for at the moment).
- Set goals for how many people you wish to speak with at events such as meetings, seminars, and other gatherings that we are not hosting.
- Ask a friend to be introduced to those people that you wish to know, either by email, phone, or in person.
- Prepare three opening lines to start conversations with others. Three lines so that you have options, depending on the circumstances. For example, if you see someone standing alone, looking overwhelmed or frightened, you might approach that person and say something to create an instant bond, such as asking if this is the first visit to the group. Examples: “Hi, are you new to this group? I am, too.”
- Pretend that you are the host of events you attend, and make a point of putting other shy, introverted, or scared-looking people at ease, or trying to make them feel welcome and comfortable. Approach the “wallflowers” or people standing alone, using a friendly opening line to strike up a conversation.
- Follow up meetings with invitations to get to know each other better over lunch, coffee, or just brainstorming about how to support each other, focusing on the relationship rather than asking for a sale before qualifying.
- Leverage your natural strengths of intellection and depth of expertise by writing articles and newsletters, responding to questions on forums, commenting on others' blogs, and creating information products.
- Participate in online communities where you can become known, liked, and trusted on your own schedule and at your own pace.
- Use written forms of communication with prospects and clients as often as possible, including letters, emails, newsletters, websites, blogs, forums, articles, and reports.
- Use the phone to communicate with individuals as well as groups of prospects or clients. Make yourself comfortable by preparing full or partial scripts in advance for voice mail messages, broadcast messages, invitations, “karma calls,” conversion or sales conversations, teleclasses or seminars, and the like.
- Visualize yourself doing all the things on this list successfully, easily, and confidently.
- Identify a mentor or role model (another introvert) who has successfully integrated these strategies into his or her daily life, and emulate that person.
- Prepare yourself for success by developing a written marketing plan that identifies your personal strengths, and leverages them through the careful choice of marketing strategies.
Marketing can be a rewarding, pleasant experience, even for introverts, when done right. Just ask me, an introvert since childhood, and Google's #1 marketing coach!
Marketing Tips for Introverts © 2009 Veronika Noize. All rights reserved.