Self-Promotion for Introverts

Career advancement tips, quips, and insights for the quieter crowd

The Secret to Getting the Job, the Raise, the Promotion, the Deal

Remind yourself that you don't have to target "el mundo."

Heads up, introverts! What does it take to get the job, the raise, the promotion, or the deal you’re after? Do you have to be a loudmouth or a blowhard? Hardly. If often boils down to how well you target the interests of one or just a few key stakeholders—a hiring manager, your boss, a client, or sometimes “the committee.” Let’s do that now.

Remind yourself that you don’t need to target “el mundo.” In fact, it’s impossible to appeal to everyone. Yet, it’s easy to lose sight of that. Also, avoid wasting your energy worrying about what other people think of you. Or how they’ll turn you down. No need.

After all, if we turn the tables, you have extensive experience as a target audience. People try to sell you stuff everyday—and often, they miss the mark. Why? They don’t get what matters to you—because they didn’t spend the time to find out—by doing a little digging and asking around.

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Not you. You’ll use your quiet strengths to your advantage. You’ll research to find out what really matters to Jo(e) Stakeholder. Is she more concerned with cutting costs? Is he hellbent on bringing in more clients? Raising the organization’s profile? Gunning for her own career advancement? Or just getting through a current crisis? You’ll take the time to find out.

Next, you’ll address precisely what matters—in tight, well crafted written and spoken language with an express lane to Jo(e) Stakeholder’s brain. After all, you’re in your sweet spot when you’ve done your homework, you’ve listened carefully to what your stakeholders care about, and you focus on speaking their language.

I have a mantra you can use whenever you address your stakeholders. Before you write a sentence or utter a word think “you, you, you” (about them, them, them). It’s not the most popular word in the world of advertising for nothing! So start your e-mails and phone conversations with a line or two about the other person—inquire about her latest news, congratulate him on his promotion, or describe a solution to a problem you can solve for her.

Here’s another shortcut. Answer the following questions and you’ll be on your way. Assuming you’re an introvert, go into a quiet space where you won’t be interrupted, focus on your stakeholders, and answer these questions. An extrovert would probably prefer to do this out loud and in collaboration with others. Whatever works! Ready for this mental exercise?

What stakeholder(s) do you need to target (for the job, the raise, etc.)? There’s usually an obvious answer; consider who else might influence the decision to hire or promote you.

  1. What matters most to your stakeholder(s)?
  2. What are their challenges?
  3. Which challenges can you help them address?
  4. How can you hit a home run for each stakeholder?

Now articulate what you’ve got that Jo(e) Stakeholder really needs. Buff it up until it twinkles. Then hit “send”!

My hope in sharing this exercise is to get you moving toward clinching that deal. Of course, you can do a lot more thinking about this. To dive deeper, check out Chapter 4, "Your Target Audiences: Going Inward and Reaching Outward," in my book, Self-Promotion for Introverts®.

Nancy Ancowitz is a business communication coach, an adjunct instructor at NYU, and the author of Self-Promotion for Introverts (McGraw-Hill).

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