Quiet: The Power of Introverts

How to thrive in a world that can't stop talking.

Charisma for Introverts: Guy Kawasaki Shares 7 Tips

Can introverts be enchanting? Guy Kawasaki says yes.

On August 10, 2008, Guy Kawasaki posted a shocking tweet. It read:

"You may find this hard to believe, but I am an introvert. I have a "role" to play, but I am fundamentally a loner."

Kawasaki was the original evangelist for Apple's Macintosh computer. He's a well-known venture capitalist who has been called the "Godfather of Silicon Valley." He has a perpetually wide smile.

He sure doesn't seem like an introvert.

As one blogger wrote, "At the time [of Guy's tweet, his] avatar featured him wearing a pink boa from a large party he threw at his house. Guy Kawasaki an introvert? Does not compute."

I interviewed Guy about this apparent disconnect, and this is what he told me: "I look upon many of my activities as a role thrust upon me - not "me" per se. It's like being an actor- you don't have to be an axe murderer to play an axe murderer. And when the role is over, it's over."

Guy does what many productive introverts do: temporarily acts out of character in the service of causes he cares about. He appears to flout Shakespeare's popular dictate that to thine own self one must be true.

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Except that he doesn't flout it, not really. What Guy is saying is that there's a larger truth: that of the causes he cares about. He is a spokesman for those causes, and if this requires putting some thought into the art and science of enchantment, then so be it.

Guy has now written an inspiring book called "Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions." Released today, the book is a crash course on how to be personally and professionally delightful. It's not aimed specifically at introverts, but, perhaps because of Guy's true personality, it's packed with useful information for the quieter half of the population.

Whether you're an introvert or extrovert (find out which you are here), you may enjoy this advice from the book:

1. When you enchant people, your goal is not to make money from them or to get them to do what you want, but to fill them with great delight.

2. Everyone is passionate about something. It's your job to find out what it is. When making conversation with a stranger, good starting points are kids, sports, travel, and food. If the person has no passions, s/he might not be worth enchanting.

3. Assume people are reasonable, honest, and grateful. Everyone isn't always reasonable, honest, and grateful, but most people are, and you can live your life in one of two ways: thinking people are bad until proven good or thinking they're good until proven bad. More people will like you if you believe people are good until proven bad.

4. People prefer things that are easy to think about. The stocks of companies with easy-to-pronounce names outperform those with hard-to-pronounce names. People even provide more honest answers on questionnaires that are printed in a more legible font.

5. People who know what they want and can clearly explain their wishes are enchanting. Stating your goals makes you trustworthy, because you're now transparent. Your agenda is on the table for all to see.

6. If you want to persuade people, don't give them information. Tell them stories. "I gave my teenage son an Android phone, and he told me he liked it better than his iPhone" is better than a list of Android phone features.

7. When preparing a speech, practice your presentation until you're sick of it. Then practice it more. If you think Steve Jobs gets on stage and wings it, you're wrong. He spends hours preparing - and he's Steve Jobs. Imagine how much time the rest of us should practice.

I found this last bit of advice especially intriguing. As part of my Year of Speaking Dangerously, which I've written about here, I've been looking for examples of introverts who are masterful speakers.

So far, my favorite example is Malcolm Gladwell -- and he says the same thing that Guy Kawasaki does. Gladwell admits that he rehearses every single word of his speeches. (For more on Gladwell and speech-making, please go here.)

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Full disclosure: I don't know Guy personally, but I do have a connection to him. Thinking it was a real long shot, I sent him a preview copy of my forthcoming book, QUIET: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking. He immediately tweeted to his 300,000+ followers, "Mark my words, this book will be a bestseller." So obviously I feel pretty grateful to him.

But it was what he did next, BEHIND THE SCENES, WHEN NO ONE WAS LOOKING, that was truly enchanting. When I wrote to thank him, he replied right away. This is a man gets who gets hundreds, maybe thousands, of e-mails a day. Most people in his position would have ignored my note, or sent a quick "You're welcome." But Guy was warm and friendly and spent time giving me - a total stranger - advice on how to position my book.

He was, in short, a mensch (Yiddish word for a stand-up guy who you would want to do business with, or wish would marry your daughter, or both.) There is nothing more enchanting than menschiness. So it's not surprising that Enchantment offers advice on how to be a mensch, and on why it matters so much to achieve this higher state of being.

But you need to read the book to find out what it is!

If you like this blog, you might like to pre-order my forthcoming book, QUIET: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking.

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For earlier posts on the Power of Introverts, please visit my website here.

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Susan Cain is the author of QUIET: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, a popular blog and forthcoming book about introversion.

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