This could be a common assumption: that personal branding is only for extroverts, as they can speak up for themselves, in ways that may not be loud but they know how to express themselves in a fine, articulate manner. Which is what we actually need to be [articulate] to have our own unique way of standing in the marketplace.
But if you look at it from the lens of introverts, who may not be that open and expressive about themselves when they are humbly amplifying their brand, you know they are fairly subdued in their communication.
And it’s absolutely agreeable; not all of us are conditioned or innately open about our thoughts and how we interact with our ecosystem. So here comes personal branding – a term that has become a necessity for entrepreneurs, business owners, CEOs and even employees of varied sizes of companies across business categories – how do you actually deal with branding yourself and establishing your thought leadership when you are an introvert?
Let’s be honest: we all are somewhere in between..the very contours of jostling with our own thoughts and trying to establish our perspective in the world of constant hustle and bustle. The battle between the two worlds and still coming out clean with your communication underpins your personal brand as an introvert.
Think of all the famous introverts; Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, the list can go on and on. All of them worked in some kind of isolation or in their own zone to produce their best work/ craft to show to the world. And they worked tenaciously hard in creating credentials for themselves that withstood the times of fierce competition. Their voice, although not chest-thumpingly strong verbally, is still very courageous and promising: that reflects their persona, style, and disposition.
And so, here are a few ways via which you won’t come across arrogant while presenting yourself in your professional life.
- Let your vulnerability be your strength. Introverts are naturally shy and feel a bit inexplicable when they are trying to communicate their perspective in a social setting. However, sometimes this can work in your favor, too: your susceptibility can connect you with people on an emotional level and perhaps land you into building some great contacts. After all, we are humans – and humans connect on the most fundamental level when we understand each others’ story and ‘get’ where we come from. We embrace the little quirks and vulnerability to get to reach out to a ‘real’ person. So don’t be scared to show your vulnerable self, as this serves as a catalyst, leading you towards a meaningful conversation.
- Network intelligently. Practice pleasantries way in advance to fit into your conversation starters should you feel you are a tad bit shy about it. For example: pick up talking points that are general yet personal; like, ‘How is New York treating you?’ ‘What do you love doing the most when it comes to work?’ ‘Your favorite keynote?’ ‘Your favorite book?’ Or somewhere along these lines. Now this doesn’t mean you sound canned and boring; you just calculate your talking points just so that you can start forging new connections and then taking them through your brand’s purpose – which should eventually lead to a win-win conversation. So network – and subtly show your passion for your subject!
- Build and enhance your intellectual assets. Be it your personal bio, your LinkedIn profile, your cover letter, your personal blog or if you write for other publications; polish all your digital assets with the right brand message – and see the difference in the way your potential customers reach out to you for business/ consultation. All your intellectual assets reflect your personal brand and its purpose – so make sure that you are communicating right with the apt words whilst adding an accent of your personality (yes, introverts shine when they write – this is their safe haven where they can do magic with a play of words and by leveraging the power of their intellect).
- Be sociable on social media. As an introvert, you are more likely to pick up the emotion and the rationale behind every post, tweet or a status update – simply because you feel connected with words that are running deep inside your analytical mind. And you do weigh in the words that would be apt for a setting or an occasion. When you speak less, you invariably have a better capacity to understand the undercurrents and how people communicate on social media. So use your ‘quiet’ to your advantage and start making new connections!
Are you an introvert? What strategy do you adopt to build your personal brand?