Carl Jung, the Swiss psychologist, invented the distinction “extraversion / introversion.” And yes, he spelled extraversion with an “a” and introversion with an “o”. Go figure.
But what I want to talk to you about is introversion. Specifically introversion and marketing.
Introversion isn’t about being shy or anti-social or socially awkward, even though many introverts are. That’s just how the term’s become oversimplified in the public mind.
When Jung categorized someone as an introvert, he meant that they got their “energy” from the inner world of thoughts and feelings. They tend to prefer the world inside the mind and their own company over engaging with the outer world of people and things … and participating in a lot of activities.
Does that mean they can’t and don’t interact with the people around them? No. They aren’t interested in things? Nope. They want to stay at home, never getting out to do fun activities? Of course not.
It means interacting with folks for any length of time tends to drain their energy … and to re-charge it, they need to get away from the crowd.
That said, yeah, introverts are often … not always … simply less comfortable in group settings, and would just as soon avoid them … you know, like meetings.
Like networking meetings.
I had a client recently who participated in a small group networking event. There were a dozen people there who knew each other well. She knew only about half the group.
She thought it’d be easy to talk to those she knows and to meet the new folks.
But she froze. She was overcome by that awkward sense of feeling out of place. Ugh.
So, what does she do? What do you do if you’re not crazy about going to meetings and interacting with strangers?
I mean, you can’t just market to people you know. You have to meet new folks and create connections with them. That doesn’t happen much when you’re sitting at home.
But here’s the thing. That’s exactly what introverts can default to doing … staying at home or the office, working on passive marketing strategies vs. getting out there in person, meeting and talking with people … and speaking to people as a presenter.
There’s no substitute for that up-close-and-personal experience of you. But how do you cope with the stress?
Understand … you aren’t the center of attention. It just feels like it.
The truth? People are mostly interested in themselves, and unless you give them a good reason, will likely pay no attention to you at all, except out of courtesy. Fear of being judged is normal, but unwarranted.
To many introverts, being invisible may sound good, but how are you going to build a business going unnoticed?
How you get noticed … in a good way … is to provide something of value to the people you meet. Real networking is about two people interacting with each other in a mutually beneficial way.
Look for ways to be of service and provide value above and beyond the professional service you offer.
Make it your mission to find out what people need. Ask questions.
“How’d you get started in your business? Where are you looking to take it? What the hardest thing you have to deal with?”
Realize it’s not about you and self-promotion.
Listen 80% of the time. Talk 20%. That’s the way to make a new friend. Listening … and being of service.
Hey, bring a friend or colleague with you. Makes it a less intimidating experience.
And once you meet someone, act like a host and introduce them to other people. Yes, even if you don’t know them either. Networking is about connecting, so connect people … and you too will become connected.
One last thing. Guess what? A lot of extraverts aren’t any more comfortable networking than you are. That unease is pretty much a human thing.
The key to getting more comfortable is to think of today’s stranger as tomorrow’s friend … and here’s the good thing.
She’s probably a fellow introvert, so she won’t always be calling you, you know, disturbing your inner world.