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The genius of the extrovert vs the introvert – in business

by | Dec 3, 2019 | Latest

This past weekend was Thanksgiving, and along with the piles of turkey and pumpkin pie, came the slurry of family chats and kitchens choked with people.

I’m a bit of an ambivert, leaning more toward introversion. So after holding my own in a turbo-charged convo with an extroverted in-law, I hunted a quiet space to think things over.

Extroverts bring a tension to a room, a charge of personality, like a lightning rod. They stir things up, make things happen. Their personalities have so much energy that the very matter of their bodies can’t contain it. It swells out, presses against you, gives you some of their electricity.

Too much of it and you can burn out. Am I right? But on the flip side, a room of introverts – who don’t yet know each other – feels like a quiet vault, walled-off libraries that filter past each other, the hint of a humming energy in each one a wormhole, a deep lake, a pool of thought.

I wrote recently about how your personality can affect your marketing. It is really interesting to try to understand how introverts and extroverts handle things.

A lot of us struggle with our marketing, because it doesn’t feel ‘natural’. We frequently follow what’s successful and popular, but it is jarring. And therefore we don’t stick with it.

See, an introvert can ‘overcome themselves’ and ‘make it happen’ and just ‘get it done’ the way an extrovert expects. But it eats you up, and feels like chugging a teaspoon of death at a time.

And extroverts must engage with people and make noise and amazing things happen, or they will deflate and die.

That’s why introverts don’t get much out of advice geared for extroverts. And many extroverts can’t wrap their minds around the introvert’s need for a deep interiority.

Where is all this going? It does apply to our marketing.

Well, it came to me yesterday on a sunny drive to and from my local DMV. Every time I go into a crowd, I feel like I shut down. I’m not great at initiating conversation with strangers.

It takes a certain kind of person to feel comfortable doing that.

I think that’s the genius of an extroverted person; the genius of the Stranger.

They excel at standing on street corners, cold calling, and thriving on stage. They are wired to create connections between the different islands of personalities.

We would be nothing as a human race without it all.

And on the other side are the introverts, and I think their specialty is the genius of the Friend. 

Introverts are wired to be closely connected to a few people, to know them well, to share carefully and consciously, and to safeguard that relationship.

We would be nothing as a human race without it too.

I wonder if the same applies to marketing?

If you’re an extrovert, you will likely do well at all the high energy points of contact that connect you to strangers.

Introverts aren’t built that way. They thrive on creating experiences and leading with ideas, connecting with friends around common values.

Extroverts thrive on the riposte and repercussions of conflict and character, the sunny heat of midday where the trees thrash in the wind.

Introverts thrive in the quiet morning or evening calm, blued and puckered with fireflies.

We need both. And when it comes to marketing your business, we need to recognize the genius that each brings.

This is why I loved

And then on my drive yesterday, I listened to Sarah’s latest podcast; Attracting Clients to Your Beautiful Business

Her guest, Steven Morris, a brand strategist and TED speaker, shared this one nugget that really inspired me.

I don’t believe that any brand or business should chase customers. They should hold their own light, hold their own center, create their own sense of attraction.

For an introvert, doesn’t that sound like an ideal approach?

That’s why storytelling is such a passion for me; you’re using an interesting medium to attract people. And the very nature of your content is using ‘like to attract like’. You’re building a tribe to continue attracting people of similar minds.

There’s no forcing, no pressing, no pressure. Most marketing is thought of in that way. Maybe sometimes it needs to be.

But most of us aren’t that way. Or don’t respond well to it.

Steven also went on to say (and I paraphrase), ‘so many of us feel like we need to leave our humanity at the door when we punch into work, either as clients or as workers. We can’t be expected to do this, and still thrive as human beings….’

When we deeply hold a beautiful idea, or an inspiring lifestyle, we are primed to be magnetic, to attract people through our conversations and content.

An introvert cannot be expected to function as an extrovert and lead with the charisma and charge of their personality.

An extrovert can’t always lead with the reflection and inspiration that an idea and an understanding brings.

And if you’re an ambivert, you’re able to tap the genius of both. Your (and my) challenge is to learn your limits.

Or, all this is hopelessly generalized, and you can tell me what you think in the comments. 🙂

So what do you think? Leave a comment.

PS: Who’s one person you know would like to read this post? Can you share it with them? Thanks!

Dominic de Souza is a novelist-turned-marketer. He believes that passionate small businesses should stop with ads and funnels, and get back to the human roots of business: clarity, excellent service, and building a community. Everything you’re already good at.  Meet Dominic →

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