Three Harmful Myths About Introverts'
by Marcia Yudkin
An introvert is someone
who needs to recharge their energy alone
rather than with other people. An extrovert
is someone who gains energy being with other
people and loses energy being alone. These
definitions come from Carl Jung, whose work
formed the basis for the Myers-Briggs
personality test. If you're not sure whether
or not you're an introvert, I encourage you
to take that test.
If you do know you're an
introvert, you may believe you're at a huge
disadvantage when it comes to marketing.
Many experts define the "shoulds" of
marketing in such a way that introverts seem
to need a personality transplant in order to
do the outreach needed to get their business
known. At the same time, much of the stigma
attached to being an introvert in business
for oneself comes from misconceptions about
introverts, and that's what I'll be tackling
in this article.
Watch out for these
three myths that are harmful to a lot of
introverts when it comes to marketing.
Myth #1: Introverts
are shy and don't like to be around
other people. True, introverts can also
be shy, but not all shy people are
introverts. These are two different
phenomena. Shy people wish they were
better at being around other people and
want to be around other people.
Introverts who understand themselves are
content to be by themselves. Shy people
are the ones who wish they were invited
to the party, wish desperately to be
invited to dance or talk but hold back.
Introverts are often not interested in
going to the party to begin with.
The harmfulness of
this myth comes about when you think
that because you enjoy being by
yourself, you're shy and therefore
socially incompetent, and then you
convince yourself that you shouldn't
pursue any form of marketing that
involves social contact. Keep reading to
learn more about why that's wrong.
Myth #2 is related to
#1: Introverts have poor social skills
and poor relationships. In fact,
introverts can be very good at getting
along with people. They may just have a
different style of getting along with
people. Instead of using small talk as
all-purpose social grease, they may be
better at having quiet, meaningful
conversations. Introverts tend to relate
better one person at a time than to a
group of people. They can be very good
salespeople because they tend to listen
well and be interested in getting at
what matters instead of more superficial
things. They may have a smaller circle
of friends and clients but have more
intense, loyal relationships with people
who matter to them.
In business, this myth
is damaging to introverts because it may
get them to discount the less obvious
social skills they have. They may
therefore put someone in charge of sales
and marketing who seems to have the
right personality but doesn't have the
ability to get down to brass tacks and
nail the sale. That's exactly what
happened to me in an ill-fated business
partnership early in my career. It took
me nearly two years to figure out that
I, the back-room person, was actually
much better at marketing than my
front-room partner who could talk up a
storm but not much else.
Myth #3 is that
introverts lack leadership ability.
They're not rah-rah kinds of leaders,
but they can certainly inspire the
troops and keep followers committed to
the right path. Again, their leadership
style may be different. Introverted CEOs
include Bill Gates, Warren Buffet,
Andrea Jung of Avon, Vic Conant of
Nightingale Conant and many others, by
one estimate about 40 percent of CEOs.
Marketing Moves That Fit Your
Read profiles of eight successful
marketers who match each of the
Myers-Briggs introvert personality
types. Even better, learn how to
select the marketing techniques that fit
how you operate in the world and keep
your energy high.
More info on
Marketing in Tune With Your Personality.
Yet in an informal
survey on the job site TheLadders.com,
65 percent said introversion is an
impediment to climbing the corporate
ladder. That's a matter of perception,
not reality. Introverted leaders may not
be the life of the company party, but
they may have vision that gets broad
buy-in, integrity that earns respect,
smarts that run rings around the
competition, discipline that gets things
done and marketing savvy that attracts
no end of customers.
Socrates said it best:
Know yourself. Use that knowledge to
pursue success regardless of whether or
not other people think you have the
Your marketing mentor,
P.S. If you're an introvert and could use
intensive feedback and guidance on your
branding, web site, marketing strategy or a
publication project, come work with me
one-on-one next spring on Maui. Your retreat is
structured so you have ample time to relax on
the beach and tour the island, too - and most
likely, your whole trip is tax deductible.
Maui private marketing retreat.
And be sure to download the free
Marketing for Introverts Manifesto!
Online Courses That May Interest You
Personal Branding for Introverts
Create a Practical Marketing Plan
Launch Your Information Empire
The Mighty Postcard Marketing Course