I was talking with a client recently about putting herself out there more, marketing-wise, and she mentioned how that made her uncomfortable and that she’s shy and introverted. That got me thinking about how often the traits of “shy” and “introverted” (vs. “outgoing” and “extroverted”) are perceived to be the same thing, when in fact, they’re not. You can be shy, yet outgoing, or vice versa. I know an extrovert who has a hard time initiating a conversation, and I’m an introvert who easily talks to strangers. How you approach marketing can be influenced by this perception, so it makes sense to take a closer look at how you operate.
Introvert vs. extrovert
The distinction between introverts and extroverts is how they recharge their energy. Introverts recharge their batteries by being alone or in less stimulating environments; the less input they have, the better able they are to re-energize. Extroverts gather their energy by being with others; the more people around, the more fueled up they get. Percentage-wise, extroverts are 50-75% of the population, introverts 25-50%. In the U.S., we tend to idealize extroverts, which means there are introverts who are faking it. Check in with yourself sincerely, rather than how you think you’re “supposed to” be, and ask how you most easily refuel, then give yourself permission to build that into your marketing plan.
Socially shy vs. socially outgoing
Introversion is often taken as the same thing as being shy; it’s not. Being socially shy or outgoing is an independent trait from being an introvert or extrovert. Often people assume because you can introduce yourself to strangers or are chatty, you’re an extrovert. The true distinction is about how socially outgoing you are. The ability to be in public, meet people easily, and strike up conversations with strangers can belong to both introverts and extroverts. Being socially outgoing is its own trait. I know a couple, one of whom is a socially outgoing introvert and the other a socially shy extrovert. At a party, the introvert will introduce the extrovert to people, then slip away to find a quiet conversation for herself.
What this has to do with marketing
If you are socially shy or introverted, you are stereotypically less likely to engage in activities such as large networking events, attending conferences, or other events that involve large amounts of input or people. This means you need to find other ways to meet new clients and get the word out about you and your business. These could include referral partners, writing, or ironically, public speaking. Introverts and socially shy people often make excellent public speakers. It also means you can release any “should” conversations about how you’re “supposed” to promote your business by being out in the world, shaking hands and kissing babies, and instead find a way that works for you and your personality style. Extroverts and socially outgoing people are better suited for big networking events or places with a lot of people and input, so leave those venues to those who are energized by them.
Being true to your style is a client magnet. When you’re acting in a way that’s true to who you are, you’ll easily attract the clients most suited to how you operate. Make it easy on yourself by designing your marketing in a way that’s most natural to you, and you’ll be amazed by the results you can achieve.