Many of us, introverts, have a hard time doing business because we tend to be naturally shy and quiet. The more people are around us, the more we tend to back off. This is certainly not a good behaviour for our business. Why? Business needs marketing. Marketing is a presentation, communication, connection with others. Without communication, we will miss useful information about our potential clients and prospects.
You cannot just tell introvert "go and speak to that strange person". This is so stressful for us that we prefer hiding back in our shell. It is not possible to change into an extrovert, but fortunately, there is hope for us!
Introverts tend to be very sensible. Without speaking to others, they might be overthinking everything and make wrong conclusions. Lack of communication means missing inputs for us.
What can introverts do to become more social?
Well, a short answer is: "Get out of your comfort zone!". This is easily said but hardly done. Many never succeed, because fear is so strong. We cannot blame anyone.
A list of tips definitely worth trying
1. Make small steps. If you have always preferred small companies, or being alone, it is not possible to go and speak in front of 200 people right away. Choose smaller groups, preferably people you already know. Get involved in casual conversations. If there is something you would like to comment, do it. Always repeat to yourself "To be successful, I need to get out of my comfort zone."
2. Consider the worst thing that can happen. If you are among friends or relatives, they already know you. Shyness is a fear of being publicly judged. Your relatives and friends most likely won't have these tendencies.
3. Prepare a small presentation about some of your projects: school work, sports success, summarize a topic you like. Then ask your parents, siblings, close friends to be your audience. Step in front of them and make the presentation. If you still think, this is hard for you, practice the presentation loudly in front of a mirror on your own. You will be much more confident if you know how others will see you.
4. Force yourself to go to a party or other small social events. You can also ask a friend to make you a company. Ask the friend to introduce you to others. This might be a big help. Remember, people love talking about themselves. If you meet someone new, genuinely ask them about their lives, jobs, studies, travel… anything that interests you. Be truly interested in other's lives, and you will always make a good impression.
5. After a few initial steps, visit any networking event on your own. There is plenty of different events in every city. For example, I like events organized by Internations.Org. It is an international organization bringing expats and global minds together. They have small and also big events. The rules remain the same. Be open, be interested in others and ask questions.
6. What might be helpful for you at the beginning is communicating with people who are paid to be nice to you. E.g. waiters, shop assistants, fitness coaches, salespeople etc. This actually helped me a lot. If I have a question about a product I want to buy, I literally force myself to pick the phone and call the company to ask the details. You can be 100% sure they will be nice to you because you are their potential client. Go for a lunch to a new restaurant, and ask the waiter how he/she is doing and how they like this new place. If you are truly open and interested in others, the conversation will never be stuck.
7. Meet new people, communicate with strangers. One of the most challenging task for me is the first contact with a stranger. After my divorce, I said to myself I need to meet more girls. I go to the gym on regular basis. There was a new girl and she was apparently searching for something. I approached her and asked if she needed some help. We started talking and I introduced myself and offered a handshake. It was extremely stressful, but in the end, it was a very nice experience. We are still friends with this lady. I repeated this same strategy a few more times.
Meeting other people might be scary because we tend to overthink the worst-case scenario. But, honestly, what is the worst thing that can happen? Some kind of faux pax may happen, and you both will laugh about that later. There is nothing truly dangerous about communication. It is only our fear manufacturing all kinds of scary stories for us in our heads.
Communication is key to your business. We need to understand what our potential clients need and want. If we keep hiding in a shell, someone more extrovert will come along and steal all our prospects. Do not let that happen! Introverts cannot turn into extroverts. And we even don't have this goal. We love our time alone. The goal is to step out of our comfort zone and learn something new. If we learn to overcome the fear that is stopping us, that is the very first leap to the success - in business and in personal life. Make small steps at the beginning. Answer to yourself - what is the worst thing that can happen? Get ready, burn into your mindset "I will do it this time" - go to a party, networking event, offer help to a girl in a gym, make a phone call to your vendors, etc. There is plenty of options to start with. Then proceed further.
Good luck, introverts!