How to Shine As an Introvert in the Business World

Being in business, especially for yourself, generally requires a fair amount of social interaction.  You work with partners, investors, clients, customers, and the public in an effort to bring your company in line with your goals.  That being the case, it would seem that someone with an outgoing, extroverted personality would have the upper hand.  However, that theory doesn’t always prove true. The introvert also has an arsenal of qualities that, once tapped into, will provide a wealth of benefits in the business world.  I’ve compiled a brief list of those I’ve found to be most helpful.

Observant- An introvert often has the ability to step into a new situation and quietly observe the interactions taking place around him.  Rather than entering the room with the immediate goal of being noticed and making waves, he comes in and studies the dynamic of the gathering.  An introvert is more likely to get the lay of the land before hopping into a conversation which means they are often more prepared to become a meaningful part of the interaction.  Their tendency to watch, listen, and wait before becoming part of the crowd gives them an opportunity to gain valuable insight into their peers and surroundings.  It can also help them assess personality types and ascertain those with similar goals and motivations.  If you’re an introvert, capitalize on this trait by fine-tuning your powers of observation.

Deliberate- Since introverts generally prefer not to be the focus of a conversation, the words, thoughts, and ideas they contribute are often carefully chosen and deliberately delivered to convey a precise meaning.  In a world where talk is cheap and time is money, a concise and well-formed statement can get you noticed in a big way.  A deliberate thought or action is also less likely to be made in haste or passion which can keep the proverbial foot out of the mouth and help maintain your positive reputation with your associates.  Play to your strength as an introvert and let your observations lead to careful and deliberate statements and actions.

Self-Reflective- An introvert tends to spend more time quietly considering his inner workings than worrying about what the people around him are doing.  This not only helps him maintain focus when it comes to projects and goals, it also helps him identify potential flaws in business plans, partnerships, and even in his own personality that can end up preventing his growth in business.  This self-reflective nature can also allow him to apply methods and approaches that he observes in those around him to his benefit.  Whether he is avoiding mistakes he has seen others make or is employing practices he knows others have found successful, he is carefully and strategically moving his business forward.  Use this self-reflective ability to your benefit by examining the strengths, weakness, and potential in yourself, your business plans, and your overall goals.

Behind-the-Scenes- Many introverts would rather quietly run the show from behind the curtains than stand directly in the spotlight.  This can be a tremendous benefit since decisions and direction changes are made without worrying about the ego.  Rather than being motivated by a desire to be noticed, praised, and idolized, an introvert may make choices that are for the ultimate good of the business and his partners without being clouded with thoughts of fame and popularity.  The willingness to run the company from behind-the-scenes is a strength an introvert may possess that can help propel him forward toward success.

Whether you’re a true introvert by nature or an extrovert looking to incorporate some of their qualities into your professional cache, the traits I’ve highlighted here will prove invaluable if they’re integrated correctly.  Regardless of your personality type, always play to your strengths and be humble enough to recognize your weaknesses.  This makes for a powerful combination that is always a benefit in business.

On a personal level, the team of Outlier partners, associates, and co-workers I am privileged to be surrounded by certainly augment my strengths, assist with my weaknesses, and make our environment positive, energetic, and constantly forward-moving.  We certainly have our extroverts and our introverts in this motley crew and personally, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Ever Gonzalez

Co-founder & CEO @ Outlier