receives compensation from some of the companies listed on this page. Advertising Disclosure


Tips from Famous Introverts: You Don't Need to Be an Extrovert to Be Successful

Janice Chaka

Introverts get such a bad rap that we forget about the very successful introverts out there and that you don't need to be one have success.

Contrary to popular belief, an introvert isn’t necessarily someone who is shy or quiet.

The term actually refers to someone who’s energized by being alone, who doesn’t thrive on social interaction, but finds that exhausting.

When you consider that according to the Huffington Post one-third, to one-half of American’s identify with being introverted, it’s clear to see that if you’re not introverted yourself, you certainly know someone who is.

We live in a world and a time where being successful doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to be an extrovert. There are many introverts out there, both dead and alive, who are or were highly successful.

Some world-renowned names include J.K. Rowling, Abraham Lincoln, Bill Gates, Emma Watson, Albert Einstein, Warren Buffet, Candice Bergen and even Hillary Clinton. They haven’t allowed their nature to hold them back, and neither should you.

The Story of Hillary

In a recent appearance in South Carolina, Hillary Clinton was asked a direct question: “Are you an extrovert or an introvert?”
Clinton, in order to avoid coming up with a straight-forward answer, explained that she sees herself as an extro-introvert.

CNN noted that she explained that while she cherishes the time spent alone with only a book in her lap or a TV screen in front of her, she realizes the need to go out and seek people, talking to them and convincing them to vote for her.

Headshot of Hillary Clinton in front of the US flag

This demonstrates someone who had had to recognize their introverted nature, which puts her at a disadvantage against the much louder, extrovert politicians, and has managed to overcome that to ensure her own success.

This is possible, and a lot of people do this, but you mustn’t forget the benefits of being introverted, which can actually lead to you being more successful.

For example, it’s been reported that many people actually prefer dealing with introverted salespeople, because they know how to listen, and they are better at explaining the benefits of a product or service.

Introvert, Extrovert or Ambivert?

While we are all aware of the terms "introvert" and "extrovert", few people have heard the word "ambivert". This new term refers to a person who exhibits qualities of both extroversion and introversion, and the person who coined it believes that we must not think of introversion and extroversion as labels, but as spectrums.

Personality Continuum Scale; Introvert, Ambivert and Extrovert

While most people assume that extroverts make the best leaders, it’s actually someone further down on the spectrum.

Ambiverts are able to strike that perfect balance between the two distinct extreme personality types, meaning that they can to be enthusiastic and assertive enough to close the deal, but at the same time, they take the time to listen to customers, employees and people in general.

They are able to push themselves where necessary, and hold back when needed.

How to Be Successful as an Introvert

Given the nature of the competitive business environment we live in, it’s no wonder that introverts struggle to grab the limelight. Because of this trend, it’s quite easy to assume that only the outgoing and bold can enjoy true success.

However, as presented above, there are many successful introverted people, from presidents and actors to salesmen and business people. You just need to make your nature work for you. Here are six tips that can help you maximize your potential as an introvert:

1. Remember the Name

One of the best strategies to become highly successful as an introvert is to win the name game. Remembering the names of your interlocutors is a must for success. Use the name of your business partners, customers or employees frequently, because that will make them feel important and will cause them be more open to what you have to offer. To understand more about this strategy, read the “Secrets of Success” by Dale Carnegie.

2. Always Start with a Handshake

By starting any meeting with a firm handshake, you’re showing your intention of respect and appreciation towards your interlocutor. Whether you approach a potential client, a business partner at a networking event, or a representative of an important company, remember to always start the conversation with a handshake.

Look the other person in the eyes and smile while you do this. This powerful non-verbal communication will help you build a strong connection, even before you open your mouth to speak.

3. Introduce Yourself

Once you are at an event, conference or business meeting, come prepared. Write down the names of the people you want to meet, and make sure you introduce yourself to each one of them with a firm handshake and a real smile.

Call them by name and tell them what you do and how you can be helpful to them. This is where the introvert’s skills of research and listening come into play.

4. Share Unique Opportunities

Networking events are great for meeting new entrepreneurs from other industries, and establishing long-term partnerships. When you start talking with a certain entrepreneur in a specific industry, ask them questions and share precious facts you know about that industry (if you don’t know anything, research before you attend).

Stay sharp for emerging opportunities and be ready to connect with other entrepreneurs who can help you reach your purpose, while at the same time benefit from your expertise. The best partnerships come from mutual gain.

5. Showcase your Interest

There are many entrepreneurs out there who are unable to establish long-term partnerships for the simple reason, they prefer handing out business cards, instead of building relationships.

In order to form lasting relationships, you need to approach any potential business partners and new acquaintances with a genuine interest. This will help you to stand out from the crowd.

6. Offer Sincere Compliments

Nothing is as effective as a sincere compliment, offered at the right time. Most people are thrilled to receive a compliment, even from new connections. It’s advisable to accomplish a new connection on his or her talents, or accomplishments first.

Only compliment a physical trait when you have nothing else left to say. For instance, you may say something like this to compliment a potential business partner: “You look really sharp in your brand new suit!”, but remember that they would prefer to hear that their business is run very effectively.

The Bottom Line

There is no doubt that introverts have their say in the business world, and are great leaders and salespeople. You can still be successful as an introvert, as long as you work it right.

If you’re aware of you nature, and the fact that social interactions drain you, then you can be sure to work around that. Use your strengths to help you, of you like listening and research, then be sure to get yourself ahead by using these skills.

Image Credit: Fizkes / Getty Images
Janice Chaka Member
Janice Chaka has over 10 years of international HR experience and is the founder of HR consulting company JC Global Services. As a part-time digital nomad, she is a great fan of promoting virtual working and paperless offices. Author of Events for Introverts: The how-to-guide to networking