Whether or not your run a business, work in a career, or have goals you want to achieve in your lifetime, having influence with people is a powerful way to get things done. Not in a House of Cards-OTT-manipulative way, but in a way that people feel compelled to pay attention to you and what you have to share with the world.
I know, I know, dear introvert, this can be a scary notion. I speak with people every day who are afraid of the prospect that they will be seen and heard, but I’m afraid that’s the way it goes if you have something powerful that you’re here to do. People need to hear about it. And they need to care enough to sit up and listen to you.
The louder that the noise gets, the more important it is that you become influential in some way – a leader. You don’t need to be the loudest, in fact, that’s the complete opposite of what you need to do. You can make a quiet and important impact, by being yourself, and sharing in a way that works for you.
So, I’ve put together some things for you to start working out for yourself, to help make you an influential introvert.
As always, this is just a starting point, the most important thing is that you find what works for you and leave the rest. But please don’t let life pass you by with dreams and goals and ideas left unfulfilled.
1. Know who you are
Have you ever met someone who just knows themselves and is so real and genuine you can’t help but like them? That’s what this is about. In the world of filters and curated feeds, people are craving real and unapologetic. If you know who you are – no excuses, no apologies – you will be able to speak confidently about yourself. You’ll come to realise that being shy or timid is optional (even for introverts) and that once you know yourself inside out, you will start to care less what people think of you and begin to focus on those who like you for being yourself.
Just like building muscle, it’s a daily process of checking in, observing yourself, and making decisions that are in alignment with your true values and the most honest and real side of who you are. This is not for show. As introverts, we care so much about deep and meaningful connection and conversation that we are more likely to do what feels right to us that following the crowd. Embrace this and do not falter, and people will start to pay attention.
2. Know what you have
Why would anyone buy what you’re selling if you don’t know what you have? It’s well known that, purely just due to our brain chemistry, introverts are more likely to undersell ourselves and what we have to offer long before we oversell. Primarily this is because we are naturally more risk averse than our extraverted friends and, by talking ourselves and our abilities, our products and our services, down we can hedge our bets.
While this might be a natural instinct, it’s also important to learn to recognise that you have something special. In my TV career, one of the most valuable things I learned was that everyone has a story and, by default, I came to realise that everyone has something that they can offer the world. Identify what that is – it might take you years, but do not stop until you uncover it – and then do everything you can to build and expand on that.
When you know what you’ve got, you will become better at talking about it, selling it, and sharing it with the world in a way that feels good to you and gets you seen and heard with ease.
3. Know why people should care
We already know there’s a lot of noise out in the world – both online and offline. Everyone is busy with their own careers, businesses, families, social lives, and building their own personal brand. So why should they care about what you’re doing? You might be thinking, ‘Good question, why would anyone care?’, but I really hope you don’t. Because if you don’t know why people should care, then what’s the point?
You have a message, a product, a service, or just a general overwhelming desire to be of service, or help make the world a better place – it doesn’t matter what it is. But if you care about something, deeply, then there’s a very good chance there are other people among the billions of humans on Earth who care too. How do you make them care about your input and what you bring to the table? And, if you don’t know, how can you start searching for the answer to this question.
It’s the key to everything.
4. Know your boundaries
Introvert! You need to have boundaries. Whilst I’m not one to harp on about the serious energy disadvantage we’re at (because we’re not), I do believe that strong and loving boundaries are imperative to our general health and wellbeing, as well as our longevity in any career or business endeavour. If you let others overstep your boundaries (or you don’t set any up from the get go), you will likely find yourself feeling drained and frustrated – and nobody cares about someone who hasn’t got the energy to be present and giving their absolute best.
We live in a busy, fast paced world where most people are overtired and overworked. People will hustle you and haggle you on price, on time, and on energy and – if you let them – they’ll wear you out. Establish clear boundaries – what you will and won’t accept – and stick to your guns. If you’re worried that you’ll upset someone, try and focus, instead, on how much people will respect you instead. It’s truly liberating.
5. Know your strengths
This one comes back to being able to talk ourselves up. As introverts (and especially for women), we all fear that we’re going to come across as aggressive, arrogant, or conceited. But that’s actually not the case at all if you’re just affirming the truth. Speak about what you’re good at, say it with conviction, and then back it up. Don’t know your strengths? Spend time identifying them (hint: they’re usually the things that you take for granted because they come easily to you.
Look out for those uncommon abilities in the most obvious places – things that people compliment you on, or ask for your help with. Things that you just naturally do and are shocked that others seem to struggle with. Things you could do with your eyes closed. And capitalise on them. Make a big deal about them. If you know your strengths and make them important, others will definitely follow suit – you might even find they’ve been admiring you from afar and are just waiting to hear you say it outloud too.
6. Know your weaknesses
Now I have a feeling that this will be much easier for you. In fact, if you struggled with the previous tip, it’s more likely that you didn’t even need to think about this one. But this isn’t about hating on ourselves or looking for reasons why we will fail. Famous billionaire introvert, Warren Buffet, believes it’s important to know your strengths and focus all your time and energy on building those, and know your weaknesses so that you can find other people to fill those gaps.
At school, we’re taught that we should focus on our weaknesses and try to get better at those things, but if your heart isn’t in it and you aren’t naturally skilled in certain things, is it worth the energy? Find gaps in your abilities and then look for ways you can outsource or delegate those tasks to focus purely on the things you love and excel at.
7. Know what you stand for
Dr Brian Little has a pretty solid theory that while extraverts are naturally inclined to speak in absolutes – all or nothing – while introverts tend to be more vague (using words like ‘tend to be’, ‘possibly’, ‘perhaps’, you get the gist). It’s not that we’re wishy-washy (although we can be), but that we like to gather facts and information before making decisions, we like to take time to (over) think things. There’s nothing wrong with this, in fact, our prefrontal cortex has more grey matter, so it’s actually a biological difference that affects our thought processes and tendency to be less forthright.
But – especially when you want or need to be influential in your career, life, or business – it’s important to stand for something. No one votes for a wishy-washy candidate. In the wise Hamilton lyrics, ‘If you stand for nothing, Burr, what will you fall for?’ That’s not a good look, and Aaron Burr never became president, further validating this point. Look for what fires you up, frustrates you, overwhelms you, makes you sad/happy/mad as hell. It doesn’t matter, but the things you react most strongly to are the things worth paying attention to.
And when you stand for something and it’s important to you, not only will you feel energised and excited to stand on your soapbox and share it, others will start to listen (whether they agree or disagree is irrelevant – for every follower that an influencer has, they’re sure to have haters as well. Get used to it).
8. Know your bigger picture
What are you doing this all for? Whether you’re starting or running an online business, you’re trying to get a promotion at work, or you’re trying to start a movement for people to use less plastic, know why. What do you hope to get out of this? Why is it worth the time and energy? Where do you see yourself in 5, 10, 20 years time. If you want to make an impact – and you surely do if you’ve read this far – you need to know why you’re doing it. You need to have an end game. Because – as we’ve already discussed – wishy washy gets no attention. Vague is not worth listening to.
Know what you’ve got, what you stand for, and why you stand for it, and you won’t have to go looking for followers, they’ll come to you.
9. Know your energy
Did you know that we all align ourselves to the most grounded energy in the room? That’s how you can walk into a room with one opinion or belief and someone with much stronger energy can convince you to change your mind. Now you might be thinking that’s always going to be the loudest person in the room, but I beg you to challenge this belief. When you know yourself and you learn to work with your quiet energy, you can be grounded and have an almost silent impact – one that people don’t even realise you’re having until they’ve already agreed with you.
Know how your energy works, and build on supercharging it for yourself and you’ll be able to attract people your way without just creating noise, but by being that strong and steady force that people feel compelled to learn more about.
10. Know you’ve got this
Because you really, truly do. If you don’t believe it, how can you expect anyone else to? It’s likely you’re your harshest critic and that you’re already influential and you haven’t even noticed because you’re so caught up focusing on your strengths, or how awkward you think you are, or how you messed up that time two years ago. Enough already, it’s time to realise that you have something extraordinary to share with the world and that if you’re patient and persistent and work every day on honing your skills and your confidence and putting yourself out there – little by little – you will absolutely get to where you want to go.
If you want to learn more about your energy, so that you can be that quiet force to be reckoned with, check out this month’s FREE issue of The Introvert Effect Magazine. We’re also focusing on really diving in and understanding our introverted energy in the June Secret Society digital subscription. It’s going to be epic and it’s going to be out on Monday June 12th. If you think this could be the missing piece on becoming more influential in your life and business, you don’t want to miss it! Learn more and subscribe here.
Which of these tips are you going to work on this week? Let us know in the comments and please share this if you feel that it could help others who want to be influential introverts too.