Posted by Paladin on March 14, 2019
It’s a common assumption that the world’s great business leaders are extroverts. Many believe that being gregarious and outwardly confident are requirements for getting ahead. Simply because these personality traits are useful when it comes to networking and building social relationships with partners and peers.
While there are certainly benefits to being outgoing, this assumption is not, in fact, accurate. Famous introverts like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Marissa Mayer, Steve Wozniak, and many others have found there’s great value in having a reserved, thoughtful, and independent personality — especially when you know how to maximize it.
Introverts watch and learn
One of the biggest advantages of being an introvert rather than an extrovert is that you’re more likely to be observant. Extroverts often barrel into conversations and become the focal point of a room. Introverts are known for quietly observing what’s going on around them. This allows them to build up stores of knowledge and insight.
Their hawk-eyed nature also means introverts are likely to be creative. A must-have skill when you’re working in fields like advertising and marketing. “Highly creative people in the arts and sciences need to reflect, to think, to create, which is typically done alone,” Gregory Feist, associate professor of psychology at San Jose State University explains. “(Introverts) are not bothered by being alone, in fact, they actually seek it out.”
Introverts in marketing do business on their own terms
Many introverts aren’t fond of social gatherings. Which can include client meetings and brainstorming sessions that require them to speak up in front of a group. At the same time, though, they tend to be calm and effective communicators when they’re talking one-on-one.
Look for opportunities to shift the conversation from a group setting to a smaller, more intimate one. For example, invite a coworker to brainstorm with you over coffee or while taking a walk. Not only will this enable you to comfortably showcase your ideas, but it will also give you a chance to build a more personal relationship with key players at your company.
Banish nerves by being prepared
It’s widely known that Warren Buffett used to dread public speaking. So how did he overcome his fears? By conducting as much preliminary research as possible, and speaking about his own experience.
Both of these tactics play to an introvert’s strengths, which include careful planning, deep thinking, and written communication. Looking back at what you’ve learned in your career so far and organizing your thoughts ahead of time will help you nail your presentation and leave a positive impression on your colleagues.
Introverts using their listening skills
Chalk it up to the quiet nature of the activity, but it’s a fact: Introverts are known for being good listeners. Fortunately, this is a skill that will serve you well in a business environment.
As Beth Buelow — author of The Introvert Entrepreneur: Amplify Your Strengths and Create Success on Your Own Terms and a self-proclaimed introvert — told Time, “We tend to be the friend or colleague you can call on when you’re upset or you have good news to share.” Her advice to introverts navigating the business world is to use this ability to listen in order to have higher-quality conversations and create more meaningful connections. Try making an effort to learn as much as you can about the new people you meet. And follow up on conversations by sharing articles by email that demonstrate your prowess as an active listening.
The better you understand the potential power that comes from being an introvert, the more you stand to gain from this dimension of your personality. Introverts may not be the loudest voice in the room, but they’re the one worth listening to.