Want to learn more? View Individual & Corporate Membership options
It is estimated that 25-40% of the population are introverts. There have been some self-proclaimed introverts such as Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, and Bill Gates, names that we all know. Would you say they are successful?
Here are 8 tips that business people can use to become the next great leader:
1. Formalize a mentoring relationship with someone you trust.
Every entrepreneur, especially an introvert, can benefit from the perspective of another businessperson, ideally one who has prior experience in the domain you are about to enter. Asking someone to be your mentor is not a sign of weakness, and most mentors love to help.
2. Turn existing connections into productive relationships.
Everyone knows someone else whether it be friends, family, and social connections. Do your homework to determine which of these might be able to help, and make a sincere effort to turn these connections into win-win business relationships. That means proactively finding common exchanges of value.
3. Actively expand your business networking activities.
This doesn’t mean randomly attending every networking event you can find, but it does mean joining and actively participating in a couple of entrepreneur groups in your area, such as a local business incubator, association.
4. Increase your visibility and expertise in your domain.
These days, by starting a blog or publishing on the internet, you don’t have to be a social butterfly to get supporters and be recognized as an influencer. By helping others, and participating in online debates and industry events, you will find productive relationships emerge naturally with peers.
5. Develop and practice your business vision and story.
This message, usually called your elevator pitch, should be a short and compelling description of your startup, one that can be delivered with conviction in the time it takes to ride up an elevator with a potential investor or partner. It should end by asking for the next step in the relationship.
6. Use personal discipline to step outside your comfort zone.
Entrepreneurs can’t be innovative or successful without taking business risks, so practice the discipline of stretching your personality, as well as business norms, on a regular basis. Speak out in meetings, or say what’s on your mind, even when it makes you feel uncomfortable.
7. Capitalize on your strengths, and forget weaknesses.
Many introverts are afraid to take the lead, knowing they have weaknesses. For example, you may be good at active listening, analyzing data, and making logical decisions.
These and other strengths may actually give you a competitive edge over your more extroverted constituents.
8. Surround yourself with allies who have complementary skills.
In business, I always say two heads (or more) are better than one. If your strength is technology, find a partner who can complement you with marketing and financial skills.
Each of these allies will also bring their own network, growing yours, and multiplying your power and growth.