Confident speakers may have an easier time of it when it comes to public speaking, networking and broadcasting their achievements, but you don’t have to be an extrovert to be good at self-promotion. In fact, being an introvert can be a strength.
Let the world know what you have to offer – in a modest, considered and quiet way – with our self-promotion tips for introverts.
You don’t need to sell yourself
If the idea of “selling yourself” makes you cringe, it could be time to change the way you think about self-promotion.
‘You don’t have to sell yourself. In fact, anything that looks and sounds like overt self-promotion often puts people off,’ says John Lees, career strategist and author of “How To Get A Job You Love“.
‘Good conversations where you impress people involve listening about the other person’s experiences. Introverts often say things more thoughtfully and make better listeners, so are often good at building relationships that matter.’
The next time you get the opportunity to impress someone, a senior manager or potential client for example, focus your efforts on getting to know the other person. How did they get into the role, what are their thoughts on the future of the industry?
When the conversation comes around to you, there’s no need to start listing your accomplishments.
‘Telling people how good you are makes you a boring and not very credible conversationalist,’ warns John. ‘You get better results talking about the things you’re really curious about. Don’t limit yourself to getting across just one thing, either. It’s useful to tell people about the range of things that interest you.’
Make the most of online networking
If you lack confidence when it comes to approaching people and introducing yourself for the first time, social media offers a useful way to make contacts. But while social media allows you to make contacts without needing to actually meet in person, you can’t replace the benefit of a face-to-face meeting.
‘People are far more likely to remember you and want to help you if they have met you in person,’ says Rob Williams, an occupational psychologist and author of “Passing Verbal Reasoning Tests” and “Passing Numerical Reasoning Tests“.
If you’re interested in talking to someone you know will be at a networking event or conference, Rob suggests contacting them via social media first.
‘Having a few conversations via LinkedIn or Twitter will help when you meet them in person, allowing you to pick up on the conversation you had previously, rather than starting cold.’
If you haven’t had the opportunity to network with them online, research the person and prepare a few conversation starters, for example, your thoughts on a recent blog post they have written.
Everyone gets better at networking with practice, so start with people you find easy to talk to, suggests John. If you’re at a networking event or conference, chat to people who aren’t top of your “must-meet” list first. That way, you can “warm up” before you approach the key people you really want to meet.
John adds: ‘It’s a good idea to prepare a quick summary of your work experience (writing it down before you meet can help), but don’t worry about preparing a killer speech or elevator pitch. It’s always better to start by finding out more about the person you are talking to.’
Play to your strengths
While extroverts tend to express themselves best in speech, introverts tend to be naturally good writers and excel at attention to detail.
‘If you think about those softly-spoken, introverted American Presidents, who were famous for their speech-making, it actually was the well-crafted content of their speeches that mattered most,’ says Rob.
You don’t have to be good at public speaking to get your name out there.
‘The internet offers lots of opportunities to promote yourself, from writing blog posts and white papers to sharing your latest research findings and joining discussions on LinkedIn.
‘Focus on sharing your knowledge and passion. The more generous you are in helping others and sharing useful information, the more you will be seen as an authority in your field,’ says Rob.
Build your contacts list
Networking online is all very well – but what if you don’t have a great contacts list to begin with?
‘If you ask intelligent questions, don’t waste people’s time and don’t oversell yourself, people are generally very happy to bounce you on to others,’ says John.
‘Starting a conversation “you don’t know me but” is a real conversation killer, so ask people to make introductions, not just give you names. You won’t run out of contacts – not if you keep asking the question “who else should I be talking to…?”’
Approach people with the intention of getting to know more about them, make an effort to network online and in person, and be willing to share your knowledge, passions and interests, and even shy and retiring introverts can excel at self-promotion.
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