Are you an introvert?
Don’t be shy. You can admit it. Anyway, it’s not like you’re alone: Happiness guru Dan Buettner estimates that anywhere from 16 to 50 percent of the population exhibits qualities of introversion.
That’s at least a billion and a half people, but who’s counting?
Being an introvert is great for lots of reasons, but extroverts do enjoy certain innate advantages — particularly in the workplace, which often rewards social facility.
Extroverts are great at telling their personal stories and, for lack of a better term, tooting their own horns. Introverts need to work harder at that.
So, what’s an introvert to do about personal branding? Here are some ideas.
- Blossom, Virtually
Thanks to social media, it’s easier than ever to reach vast, diverse audiences without ever meeting face-to-face. If the idea of presenting to groups or gladhanding your way through crowded networking events makes you uncomfortable, consider virtual alternatives like tweetchats and video livestreams. Sure, you need to be “on” in these settings, but at least you can’t see your audience’s reaction.
- Stick to the Facts
Boasting is usually a sign of weakness. If you’re not sure you can pull off a convincing fiction — and most people can’t — then it’s best to present just the facts in clear, convincing language. That’s what this New York entrepreneur’s website does so well — and what yours should do, as well.
- Let Your Actions Speak Louder Than Your Words
Most people associate the triumphs of the mid-20th century American civil rights movement with the soaring oratory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., or the confrontational tactics of Malcolm X. Neither man comes off as an introvert, that’s for sure.
But the woman who arguably did more than any single individual to personalize the movement for America’s skeptical white majority was Rosa Parks, the Alabama seamstress who quietly refused to give up her bus seat for a white man. Ms. Parks is universally regarded as one of history’s most successful introverts because she let her actions — and the strength of her convictions — speak louder than any prepared speech, however beautifully written and delivered, ever could.
- Do What You Have to Do
Americans are uniformly shocked to learn that Warren Buffett, one of the most successful (and wealthiest) investors of all time, is a self-avowed introvert. As his business career gathered steam, he reportedly felt compelled to take Dale Carnegie’s famous course, “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” to gain a modicum of social grace. Apparently, it worked.
- Focus on One-on-One Relationships
If you’re serious about burnishing your brand and finding some measure of career success, you’ll need to make meaningful connections. Whenever possible, try to do this face-to-face, one-on-one: think coffee dates, not conventions.
Say It Best, Not Loudest
Don’t listen to those who argue that the market rewards the loudest, most insistent voices. As we’ve seen here, history is littered with examples of introverts who’ve achieved massive success. When you confidently march to the beat of your own drummer and take common sense steps to shore up your personal brand on your own terms, you’ll go farther than boasts and brags could ever take you.