Whatever industry or job you’re in, a cornerstone aspect of developing your career is your ability to market both yourself and a brand.
Whilst that may come naturally to people with extroverted tendencies as myself (like… if I had a dollar for every time I’ve been told I am a rainmaker), I do feel that the commonly held belief that being an extrovert is the preferred personality style to be in marketing is a misconception.
If you are introverted, doing things such as attending networking events and mixers or speaking in large groups may be things that you shy away from. However, there are ways you can still excel. Introverts make up 30-50% of the population, and many extroverted people have introverted qualities so unpacking how to market in a way that suits your personality is pertinent.
An introvert is defined as a personality type that gains energy and is more comfortable focusing on their inner thoughts and ideas, rather than what is happening externally. In general, they enjoy spending time with just one or two people rather than constantly being in a crowd.
So how can you make sure you engage with people, build your brand and continuously network if you’re more introverted?
Form real connections
A few weeks ago, I attended a talk by a very successful international lawyer who started his firm at 22 years old. He is well known for being extremely sociable, amicable and well-liked in the legal community. He talked about how he actually was extremely shy when he first got into this game, but slowly built up his international connections by aiming to actually create meaningful connections. He said his number one tip was to make sure you catch up with at least 1 person a week – be it for a coffee, a lunch or even a drink. By doing this, you’re building a real and intimate relationship and can ask questions that are personal and find similar interests. He anecdotally also recited that there’s now one partner at a firm in London who he exclusively only catches up with by going on hikes as they both found that as a point of common interest.
Attend with a friend
A great way to decrease the stress of a networking event is to attend such mixers in smaller groups with people you know. It ensures company and you can be a part of a table of people you already know and meet new people alongside them.
Attending with a friend is one of my favourite tips despite being extremely extroverted, as it’s nice to have somebody to turn to and it can also attract other people in pairs or small groups to come up to you. I also like to check whether any friends from the same industry I already have may be attending, so that there’s always people to gravitate towards.
Use the internet to vet the scenario
Using social media to figure out who may be there, and some people you may want to connect with will make the event far more intentional and considered.
I like to also run a google search on people generally, to understand their background and think about talking points that may interest me and them.
If there’s a specific speaker you want to introduce yourself to, trying to understand a bit about them and their history will show that you are interested, which will increase the likelihood of them reciprocating. I recently attended an event where the speaker had lived and worked in New York, and when approaching them, I asked about this experience which ignited a 25 minute conversation about living in the East Village and how incredible New York city was.
Use the introvert tendency to be a good listener to your advantage
My final tip is that generally introverts are good listeners. At most events, people tend to talk about themselves and promote themselves which can undercut the premise of forcing a meaningful connection. As introverts are inherently comfortable with silences and are reflective, you can use the ability to actively listen and have more substantial conversations.
Hopefully, these tips give you the confidence to go out there and get networking.