It’s time to let the world know what you have to offer – even if you’re offering 2 for 1 deals on recycled sweat socks.
We get it. You’re an introvert. You don’t like bringing attention to yourself. But face it, it’s hard to succeed if no one knows you or what you do unless you’re being monitored by Homeland Security.
Fortunately, the same skills that got you voted in high school “Most Likely to Strike Up a Conversation with a Potted Plant” can help unleash your inner, socially-averse self-promoter.
Using just a few of your introvert strengths, you can show the world what you have to offer.
- Listen and observe – (Please note: observing your neighbor through your telescope does not count.) By talking less, and listening and observing more, introverts can pick up on conversational subtleties that others don’t. For example, after one short conversation, you may conclude: “This is the perfect person with whom to merge my multi-national corporation” or “Why doesn’t he trim his nose hairs?”
- Manage your energy – Attending an entire two-hour networking event is exhausting. Better to cut it down to a more manageable amount of time, say 20 seconds, 25 if the food is good. Then it’s time to head off to the nearest empty coat closet and collapse into an exhausted ball on the floor.
- Go with your strengths – Why try to sound like an expert nuclear arms negotiator when you can dazzle them with your real strength: sleight of hand magic tricks. It doesn’t matter if your potential employer is looking for an experienced project manager. When delivered with confidence and authority, stories about your years as a one-legged Hooters waitress will seal the deal and put you a hop, step and jump ahead of the competition.
- Prepare what to say – If you’re too nervous to speak extemporaneously, memorize your talking points. If that’s too hard, bring along a portable teleprompter. And keep it simple. Don’t try to impress with flowery language when monosyllable grunts will suffice. A rule of thumb: Never attempt to remember anything that you’d forget while screaming the same thing during sex.
- Share your experiences – An entertaining story about convincing a Nigerian prince to buy a non-existent Florida timeshare is bound to help you land a new account or great job. People may not connect your face with your business card, but they’ll never forget the woman who talked about being abducted by a UFO.
- Build meaningful connections – Introverts excel at one-on-one relationships. They may not remember everyone they encountered at crowded parties, but they remember every conversation, word-for-bark, they had with the host’s pet. Self-promoting for introverts works the same way. Don’t focus on meeting lots of people. Rather, build a relationship with the assistant sales manager with whom you chatted for hours about migratory robots.
- Be honest with yourself – Introverts are notoriously bad phony phonies. It consumes too much energy – energy that can be used for other endeavors, like endlessly replaying conversations in your head. When in doubt, look at yourself in the mirror (it’s okay to avoid eye contact) and give it to yourself straight. After all, no one knows you better than you – and perhaps your therapist who plans make you the subject of her next book.