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  • 3 Ways Introverts Can Boost Their Personal Brand

    Introvert photo from ShutterstockPicture, for a second, a man. He is not very outgoing. Pretty reserved, actually; he spends a lot of time alone. When in crowds his mind gets jumbled, and his heart starts beating just a little faster. The man knows of his true potential, but can’t even begin to think about carrying out the steps needed to get there.

    If this sounds like you, chances are you’re an introvert.

    But introverted people have personal brands just like the rest of the world, and denying that will most likely lead to a mediocre career path. The truth is, introverts have the potential to command just as big, if not bigger, personal brands than even the most extroverted people.

    Here are some ways you can build your personal brand without giving up too much of your personal space:

    1. Public speaking

    Every introvert’s worst nightmare is, unfortunately, a very important part of building a personal brand — but much of the time your fear is simply a result of your mind playing tricks on you.

    One of introverts’ biggest stigmas of public speaking is thinking the audience will judge them poorly during their speech, no matter how well-rehearsed it is. This can seriously affect how the speaking engagement goes. A method that works for many introverts is to repeat something such as, “The audience will not judge me poorly.” The more you repeat it, eventually you believe it (at least temporarily) and perform better than if you hadn’t.

    People come to your speaking events because they want to learn more about you and what you’re talking about. There is also no problem in extending your Q&A session in order to take a little pressure off of yourself.

    Use your network to score speaking opportunities on live podcasts or webinars. While they may not be as effective as non-digital public speaking, these opportunities allow introverts to grow their reach and credibility in a way that makes them most comfortable.

    2. Digital presence

    The Internet provides the benefits of interacting with people all without ever having to leave your room. Through social media, you can network with people around the world, all from the comfort of your own personal space.

    You can also publish quality content and share it with your followers in order to maximize reach and establish further credibility as an influencer. Writing your fantastic ideas and thoughts for the whole world to read can do amazingly good things for your personal brand.

    3. Traditional networking

    Social media still doesn’t substitute for traditional networking. Meeting people in-person is the most ancient method of networking for a reason — it works.

    But who’s to say you only have to meet people at trade shows and networking events? Instead, simply research people you’d like to speak with and create a list. Then, find out where they’ll be speaking or which events they’re attending and go there yourself.

    Once you get there, you’ll already have a person in mind to speak with, so the thought overload of who to talk to first or where to start won’t be as overwhelming. It may take a couple times to get used to it, and it may not always go as planned, but having that short-term goal can help you forget your anxiety so you can make the most from your conversations.

    How can you increase your personal brand as an introvert? Let us know in the comments!

    avatar

    Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. She is also the instructor of Find Me A Job: How To Score A Job Before Your Friends, author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.

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    One comment on “3 Ways Introverts Can Boost Their Personal Brand
    1. avatar
      EXPERT

      While I appreciate this article, and you make some spot-on points, what you’ve shared here tends to perpetuate the myth that introverts are by nature insecure and suffer from social anxiety.

      Your recommendations about networking are useful; it’s true that we can expand our definition of networking to include different types of events, and it helps to research a bit to find out who else will be there and create a connection strategy around that. However, while introverts *may* feel anxiety about networking, that’s not what usually hold them back. It’s that it’s a huge expenditure of energy. Large, unstructured groups of strangers require a massive projection of energy. If there’s anxiety, it probably comes from overwhelm and over-stimulation, rather than fear. Networking is made easier by knowing how to control and pace one’s energy, which leads to different, more introvert-specific advice.

      I also agree that having a strong online presence is a fabulous way for an introvert to build his or her brand. The main reason it’s powerful is because introverts often prefer to write out their thoughts, and blogging and social media give us the space to think before we write, then write as much as we want.

      Where I take issue is with your assertion that public speaking is “every introvert’s worst nightmare.” I am one of many introverts who LOVE public speaking. It’s an essential part of my business plan. I think you miss the mark when it comes to advising introverts (or anyone) to affirm themselves with “The audience will not judge me poorly.” Affirmations should be in the positive, such as “The audience is interested in what I have to say,” or “I’m confident in my message and my ability to share it.” And reassuring us that we can extend the Q&A is totally opposite of what an introvert would wish for. The beauty of public speaking is that we have a chance to prepare and practice. We have control of the content and situation. That’s not the scary part; where anxiety happens is when we’ve opened the floor for questions and have no idea what people will ask, and we have to think up an answer on the spot. Of course, we can develop confidence around that and become more comfortable with it with practice, but it’s not the place we like to hang out.

      And it’s important to note: being an introvert doesn’t automatically equal jumbled thoughts and anxiety in crowds. I can be perfectly content alone in a crowd, people watching and feeling no anxiety whatsoever. Introversion and social anxiety are two different things. They might exist in the same person, but one does not equal the other.

      It’s wonderful to see these types of articles popping up, addressing entrepreneurial challenges from an introvert perspective. In the future, though, I hope articles shared here represent insights and advice that’s more in line with what it really means to be an introvert entrepreneur.

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