When you think about someone who is persuasive, what comes to mind?
Do you picture Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. standing in front of a crowd of thousands sharing his infamous dream? Do you think about a pastor at your church? A car salesman? Or does something more akin to The Wolf of Wall Street emerge?
You could think about a positive influencer like Dr. King or a negative influencer like a Wall Street crook. But chances are, no matter the types of influencers you picture, they all likely share one thing in common… they are extroverts.
With all due respect to my fellow extroverts, introverts have an influential edge over their counterparts. Neither extroversion nor introversion is good or bad. So, please know that I’m not hating on extroverts, especially since I am one.
Introverts have falsely believed for too long that extroverts have a monopoly on influence. That stops today.
From my course on building your influence, here are five ways introverts can actually be better influencers than extroverts:
1. Keen Observation.
Unequivocally, the foundation of influence is being a keen observer about the people around you. Introverts already observe more than extroverts. When an introvert knows what to look for in their observations, their influential potential skyrockets.
2. Gathering Intel.
Extroverts have a tendency to overpower a conversation. They speak louder and fill any silence with their voices (generally speaking, of course). Introverts, on the other hand, give other people the space to talk. Because introverts might avoid talking, they have developed an exceptional skill of asking questions.
Smart questions accompanied by authentic listening is a killer combination for influence. What some may call “listening skills,” influencers call “gathering intel.” Introverts will find identifying influential triggers with great ease because they already know how to prompt and listen.
3. Selective Speaking.
Introverts are known for being more meticulous with their words than extroverts. Introverts take a moment and think before they speak. Finding the right words for the right moment is 80% of influential communication.
And so, an introvert’s more contemplative approach to communication can serve them well in their persuasive conversations.
4. Strategic Thinking.
Strategic thinkers are often introverts. They are known for looking at the metaphorical chess board and thinking 5 moves ahead. Again, an introvert’s quiet contemplation is a competitive advantage. While an extrovert might go with the flow in a conversation, an introvert is skilled at staying focused on a target.
Influence is, at its core, goal setting in communication. An introvert’s strategic mind means they are likely to hit their conversational target.
5. Ego Suspension.
Extroverts generally like being the center of attention, while introverts like to put the attention on others. Because introverts aren’t as interested in the spotlight, they are more skilled at turning the spotlight onto others and letting them shine, which makes others feel good.
An introvert’s ego isn’t wrapped up in the conversation, which means they are generally very good at being flexible in their communication – doing what it takes to let the other person shine. This ego suspension and communication flexibility are critical for exceptional influential skills.
Introverts have many of the foundational building blocks to be incredible influencers. If they can build on top of those innate skills and learn what to look for, how to build an influential strategy, enhance their intelligence gathering, and use “closing” techniques — they easily can become convincing and compelling.