Being an introvert is great if you work by yourself, at your home office, or even in a office or cubby hole. But no matter what your business is, at some point you have to come out and talk to people. In order to be successful, you will have to engage with people either by phone, one on one meetings, or delivering speaking engagements. You must rise to the occasion if you want to develop clients and drive your sales. But what do you do if you are uncomfortable talking to people? What if you are an introvert? Or even worse basically “shy”. I think introverts can manage the interactions if they have too, but shy people have a tougher time because they not only hate it, they get anxious about it. Social anxiety is not pleasant.
If you look at the two people in the blog title picture, it is probably easy to see who the introvert is, but they look like they are having a great meeting. So can you.
You may be surprised to know that many of the people we admire in the online business world who lead seminars, do videos, coach, will tell you that are actually very shy and are introverts. They have to really step up to be able to speak on stage. But they do. Why? Because they know if they don’t they cannot engage with their customers and get their message out. The secret is trying to find how to stretch your comfort zone without making yourself crazy. I have heard that what does drive introverts to stretch is their passion for their business and wanting to help others. Choose the moments that will have the most impact. Everyone thinks that the extroverts have it all together. A little secret, even they can be shy and be terrified at times, and even hate networking too.
Here are a few tips that can get you started on the road to becoming more comfortable having those interactions. Hopefully some of these practices can ease the anxiety and allow you to have some winning conversations.
Have some warm up statements for yourself. When someone pounces on you and says, “who are you” or “what do you do?” have a couple of thoughts in your mind or maybe even memorized so you are not caught unaware which might totally shut you down. Just a sentence or two will do. Draw on your talents, your business know how. It gets you talking. Use them to open a conversation or respond to a question. Just let the person or persons get a sense of your passion for your business and how you help your customers.
If you in a situation where you might have to take the lead, begin the conversation with asking some questions about some relevant topics. Doesn’t have to be about business. Maybe it is just about something you learned recently on a topic that would be appropriate and ask for their opinion. If you are conversing with an extrovert, they will take over. However, if you are talking to an introvert, have a few soft inquiring questions. It should get them started. They are there for the same reasons you are probably. Remember they may be just as nervous as you. Be patient and let them talk. Don’t cut them off. Otherwise, that might be the last word you hear from them. Your goal is to connect.
Listen, Listen, Listen. Nothing turns off any person extrovert or introvert more, than having the feeling of being dismissed. If you are interested in what they have to say, look “present” and “attentive” to their discussion. If you are feeling a little intimidated, just back off a little and step in with a new statement or question. It will quickly diffuse the atmosphere. If possible adjust the conversation. They probably don’t mean for you to feel intimidated. It’s just that they are passionate about the subject. They don’t realize they are coming across stronger than they should.
Practice, Practice Practice! No matter how good a speaker or conversationalist you are, we need to practice. Have daily conversations with your “Wilson” like Tom Hanks in the Castaway movie. At least he doesn’t talk back and is attentive. Practice talking to yourself in the mirror like the Queen in “Snow White”. This will help you improve your body language – gesturing and facial expressions. My favorite practice for a workshop is talking to myself while I am driving. Thank goodness no one thinks I am a nut case. They just think I am on the phone.
Fortunately, if you are doing a video, you can erase the bad parts. But it is still good to practice audio and video to get more comfortable, especially if you know one day the stage is yours. Speaking of stage, if you have ever gone to a large seminar, you often see the key speaker arrive on stage jumping around or clapping his or her hands. They do it because it raises their adrenaline to quell the “butterflies” in their gut. Tony Robbins bangs on his chest a couple of times before he heads out onto the stage and yells “yes”, “yes” “yes” and then runs out. Who would have thought? I have used his technique over and over when I am just getting ready to start. No one sees it but you. But you feel good when you begin your opening lines.
These four tips are probably the “tip” of the iceberg, but a great place to start. You are always going to be an introvert and that is okay. Introverts are the brain power of our society. But it will help if you can learn some techniques to help you build rapport. If you can do that, you will probably feel more comfortable and stay successful in your interactions.
Last and most important thing to do for yourself – when your event or interaction is all over, acknowledge yourself for doing a great job. Then, reward yourself by going to that “quiet” place that allows you to recharge. Take note of how long you can be “out” before you need to recharge. It may be just a “mental” garden, but you know where you need to go.
You are great…..