I have a confession. Do you know that I’m pretty much an introvert? I used to be quite shy in my teens but I’ve gradually come out of that, but I’m still more introvert than extrovert. Most people don’t know that about me.
Why? Because they see me and my work all over the web, on social media and in photos at events.
Many people are surprised when they meet me that I’m not more “gregarious”, or initially a ball of energy because they see me on social media and I show up as pretty outgoing.
Once you get to know me…I’m open and easy to talk to…it’s just making that initial connection…or breaking the ice, right?
What I’ve learned about introverts is that we need to go inside to replenish our energy whereas extroverts get energy from outside – being around people. So the idea of going to an event where I didn’t know anyone didn’t tap into my creative energy.
When I first started my business the thought of networking made me pretty nauseous – which is code for – I didn’t do it. I just couldn’t go to events and start talking to people I didn’t know. It was amazing how many family “emergencies” came up that kept me from going to an event like that (blush).
This was very confusing to me because I was a former VP of Marketing. I knew marketing but it was totally different marketing myself. It felt much more vulnerable and the risk of feeling ‘salesy’ was always haunting me.
What I know now is that to be successful in promoting yourself and your own business is you need to create marketing strategies that work with your strengths and natural tendencies.
What I’ve learned about marketing as an introvert is that we need a “structure” or what I call an “invitation” in order to share ourselves in the world.
What do I mean?
I mean – you need a cool, creative oversized biz card that you can’t wait to share with someone. Instead of a commonplace biz card that just fulfills having a card and you spend all your time wondering if you should pull it out of your purse or not.
With a “structure/ or an invitation” like a business card you love -you can’t wait to share it. That’s marketing that’s fun, easy and authentic!
Another idea for introverts is to sponsor a table at a networking event. It gives you a reason (or an invitation) for being there. You aren’t just wandering around wondering who you should talk to and feeling like an outsider because you can’t seem to just jump into a conversation easily. You have a place and a purpose and people will come up to you.
I know how it works…you are great once people know you or your introduced but initially you need a “thing”…a “structure” of some sort to get you going.
Don’t confuse the reserve of an introvert for lack of confidence.
That’s just not true! Many successful women I know are highly confident in their work and value of what they offer…it’s just that initial connection in large groups of people they don’t know they might need a something they can lean into to open up connections and conversations with others.
I encourage my clients to have an “invitation” – something they can share that invites a conversation. It draws people to you which is wonderful so you don’t have that feeling like you have to thrust yourself upon someone (you introverts know what I’m talking about energy-wise!).
I use my Graphic Murals for this very purpose. At conferences and workshops I draw an eight foot mural capturing the sound bytes of a key note speakers. Not only is it fun and yes, it’s really cool and creative…and people come up to me at the conference.
They see my work and they want to meet me and talk about my work. How wonderful for an introvert! It’s a structure that is great for a person who isn’t a natural networker at big events.
You might have a flyer to share, a cool free gift of some sort – hey, that’s why pens & coffee mugs were so popular back in the days when sales people would drop by offices…it was an ice breaker, or what I like to call an invitation to have a conversation.
Next time you are going to a networking event or a conference or workshop – think about what your “invitation” can be?
It could be a cool toy with your message on it, an oversized and unusual business card or you might want to volunteer to be a sponsor where you’ll get natural visibility and others will promote you.
Let me know how you enjoy today’s message and you introverts – let me know your ideas for your invitation.