We often think of entrepreneurs as those bubbly, charming, suit-and-tie businesspeople that are always willing to shake an extra hand or hand out just one more business card. For a lot of entrepreneurs, this is exactly the case. However, to think of all entrepreneurs as introverts is to neglect the idea that those who don’t want to be communicative can’t also be just as successful in business.
There’s no one rule that says you have to be an extrovert to be an entrepreneur. In fact, many entrepreneurs are introverts, and they have a decidedly different take on business success. At the same time, those of you out there who want to be an entrepreneur while also hanging onto their introverted ways must also realize something: you can’t be a businessperson without the proper communication skills.
Fear not. We have four communication tips for introverted entrepreneurs who want to up their connectivity skills.
- Be willing to set your own terms.
Say you’re an introvert who doesn’t like in-person meetings. Is it unprofessional to request phone conferences only and to find ways to avoid in-person contact if at all possible? Goodness, no.
It’s thought that businesspeople need to be malleable to the point of sacrifice, but we all should know when to put our foot down. Those who agree to all terms are those who follow, not those who lead. An introverted entrepreneur should be allowed to dictate their communication conditions while still being able to negotiate them if absolutely necessary.
- Practice those pauses.
If you’re uncomfortable speaking to people, it’s likely you aren’t used to speech flow. Introverts tend to rush their words, trying to get everything out as quickly as possible. Extroverts, however, are used to conversation patterns, and therefore speak a lot more naturally. It’s not that they’re rehearsed, but instead that they instinctively learned to speak well.
Introverts have to practice these techniques in order to communicate effectively. Natural speech patterns means someone can be easily understood.
- Don’t apologize for your quirks.
At the end of the day, it really does take all sorts to keep the world spinning. Those who are introverted may be more accustomed to dodging connecting with others or they may even find ways to make communication more comfortable on their own terms.
This also makes a lot of introverts rather shy and/or embarrassed by their needs when it comes to discussing something one on one. This leads to apologizing — which is a big no-no when you’ve done nothing wrong. Show the world that you’re a proud, sure entrepreneur who won’t apologize for themselves when they haven’t committed any social crime.
- Listen, don’t talk.
Introverts actually have the one-up on extroverts in this area. Outgoing people usually have a lot to contribute to a conversation, thus they wait for a window to include themselves. They listen for a pause, not for content.
Introverts are more about avoiding interaction, so therefore they’re more willing to listen than to insert their own two cents into a conversation. This is a skill that’s great to have as an entrepreneur. Listening to peers, clients and colleagues will get you far.