Social media dominates the news these days, with experts of all stripes offering glib advice on how to grow your business by becoming an online “star,” by putting yourself “out there,” and by “building relationships” with everyone you encounter.
Here are some suggestions for building your business that don’t rely on having a larger-than-life personality.
Listen More, Talk Less
Who among us doesn’t appreciate a good listener? Certainly, the world’s talkers do. And the world’s “natural listeners” do, too, because they so often get drowned out by the talkers.
The key to being a good listener is to do it actively. Try to recognize the speaker’s motivations, values, and opinions. Occasionally ask a judicious question that drives the speaker more deeply into the discussion at hand.
By listening carefully, you not only win the speaker’s appreciation, but also gather a lot of information and perspective that can — when you need it — fuel your own blog posts, speeches, and professional interactions.
Share Tidbits of Valuable Information
When you pay attention, you notice that a large part of everyday conversation (both in-person and online) revolves around trivial matters. But you don’t have to join the chatter; in fact, you shouldn’t.
As Abraham Lincoln famously noted, it’s “better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt.”
Follow that rule and you will automatically elevate the value and appeal of the information you choose to share. In fact, by communicating judiciously instead of continually, you’ll train your prospects to recognize, appreciate, and trust not just your words, but you — and your business.
Favor One-on-One Interactions
Nearly everyone touts the advantages of networking, which suggests that large gatherings are the best place to make professional connections. But for introverts, the opposite is true: You shine much more brightly in smaller groups and one-on-one interactions. So, seek them out.
Look for opportunities to join a single prospect or customer for a cup of coffee or a meal or to spend five minutes in quiet conversation. At gatherings, chat up the person who’s standing or sitting alone. Measure your success in connecting not by the number of people you glad-hand, but the depth and memorability of each conversation.
Let Technology Make Connecting Easier
Yes, we’re back to discussing social media, but from a different perspective. Instead of trying to be all things to all people, focus on one or two channels that fit your style and preferences and which bring you in contact with the community that can help you grow your business.
You’ll know you’ve found the right social media path when people show their appreciation for listening to them, for understanding their points of view, and for interacting with them on more than a superficial level.
You may also want to explore creating teleseminars or webinars, which allow you to express yourself and share your specific expertise without having to address large groups in person.