Introverts Guide to Self-Promotion

By | August 23, 2007

When I wrote about sociable introverts last spring, I never imagined it would become one of the most popular posts on this blog. Even to this day, that post sometimes gets more hits than my current posts. There is much more interest in how introverts guide their careers than I ever imagined.

One of the biggest challenges for introverts is self-promotion. While self-promotion seems natural and normal for most extroverts, many introverts dislike self-promotion because they is draws too much attention to themselves. Self-promotion, however, is a key component of communicating your brand, developing your business, or getting the next job.

Part of the reason that introverts shy away (no pun intended) from self-promotion is that they see the extroverts glad-handing at social events and assertively shouting their stories. These activities are sometimes viewed by introverts as at best as uncomfortable, and at worst disingenuous and obnoxious. As distasteful or awkward as it is, however, introverts need to master the art of self-promotion just as much as extroverts. Their style and methods will likely be very different, but the principles are the same.

Marci Alboher, author of the New York Times column Shifting Careers, offered several suggestions for introverts in a recent column:

  • First, you need to make peace with the fact that you have to actively tell others about your accomplishments. Others are not paying attention to you — they are busy telling their own story.
  • Focus on your strengths. Many introverts are more comfortable writing their thoughts and ideas than speaking them. Find creative ways to use emails, letters, newsletters, blogs, portfolios, etc.
  • Find a way to become an expert or the go-to person for something in your organization, so other people are coming to you.
  • Develop and practice your presentation skills.

Of course, the first rule of effective self promotion is that you have something meaningful to promote (Duh!), but that concept is lost of some people. As Marshall Goldsmith observes in his book, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, “Being smart turns people on. Announcing how smart you are turns people off.”