We’re all aware of the traditional image of the entrepreneur – brash, self confident, not an ounce of introspection, high dominance on the DISC profile (see me for more details!), doesn’t know the meaning of ‘self-doubt…’
But supposing you’re not like that?
Supposing you’re an introvert? A little bit shy? One of those people who could say, “I feel physically frightened before a networking event.” (And yes, that’s a direct quote.)
Does that mean you’re disqualified from running your own business – that however good your ideas, you’re destined to be a second-in-command while someone else basks in the glory? And the lion’s share of the cash…
Not necessarily. Which is good news – because I have plenty of Board members, potential members and good friends who absolutely do not match the traditional ‘entrepreneur profile.’
Some of them are running – or could be running – outstanding businesses.
I’ve just read a really interesting blog post on how introverts can get the career, pay and credit they deserve.
The article – by Tahl Raz – led me on to an interview he’d done with communications coach Nancy Ancowitz who gave three tips for introverts; ways in which they could make themselves heard “in a world where everybody is talking.”
So, for the benefit of anyone who counts themselves among this group (which apparently accounts for a third of us) and who’d cheerfully eat their thumb rather than go to another networking event, here are Nancy’s three tips:
1. Write – many introverts are naturally good writers, and if you struggle to make a case for yourself when it’s ‘sixty seconds round the table’ then write it down. Use your skills to make sure that the quality of the written work your business produces is outstanding. And people will take notice.
2. Don’t try and wing it. Let’s take a business lunch as an example – again, everyone speaks for 60 seconds. If you’re naturally shy, don’t try and make it up as you go along. Write your ‘speech,’ learn it – and then deliver it as naturally as you can. Chances are, the confidence you gain from knowing it, will allow you to deliver a stellar performance. If you’re an introvert, preparation and detail are likely to be among your strengths: play to them.
3. According to Ancowitz, “video-tape is an introvert’s best friend.” She recommends having a friend or mentor video you in a social setting. That way, she says, you can easily identify (and correct) behaviour that may cause others to see you as aloof and anti-social.
Now I can see that having someone follow you round 4Networking with a video camera might make some of you feel slightly uncomfortable! So here’s an alternative suggestion. More and more websites are now including video: if you’re someone who shies away from large social groups, make your pitch on video and put it on your website. Link to it on Twitter and next time you’re forcing yourself to eat a disappointing bacon sandwich in the company of extrovert strangers, there’s a chance that they’ll already have ‘met’ you. They might even ask for your advice…