How Introverts Succeed in Business

By Anna McDermott

Rich Brooks is the founder and president of flyte new media, a digital agency in Portland, Maine, and a nationally recognized speaker on entrepreneurship, digital marketing and social media. Nancy Marshall, The PR Maven®, interviewed him on her podcast and while they both shared some great tips on entrepreneurship, SEO and social media, one key thing stood out. Rich describes himself as an ambivert – a combination of an extrovert and an introvert – basically a person who doesn’t relish public events and networking. Nancy, a true extrovert herself, was surprised to learn this about Rich, given that he’s accomplished so much and is the founder of the annual conference, The Agents of Change, all things that require a lot of networking and in-person communication.

There is a belief that if someone is introverted, they can’t be successful in business; that it takes an outgoing person who thrives in groups of strangers to sell products and create industry, and that only extroverts prosper. The truth is ambiverts and introverts are not that uncommon and professionally do very well – they just handle social engagement differently than extroverted people.

Not only do introverted people do well, they can do better than extroverts. Adam Grant, an associate professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, conducted a personality survey and collected three months of sales records for more than 300 salespeople. According to his research, ambiverts earned a surprising 32 percent more revenue than extroverts in their sales efforts and 24 percent more revenue than true introverts.

Rich said that even though he is out of his element in new places and social situations, he’s learned how to handle them in a way that means more success for himself and leaves him less exhausted. He used to feel like he needed to connect with everyone at an event or while networking, but now he enjoys meeting just two or three people, where he can have deeper, more valuable discussions. If you take the time to really understand someone, you’re more likely to know, like, and trust them – a key foundation for successful business. Nancy mentioned that she always hates it when she’s talking to someone at an event and she sees them looking around for another person to talk with, another new connection to make. Rich said, “That’s the social equivalent of flipping through the cable channels.” Trying to meet everyone can often backfire. Rich said he’s learned to let missed opportunities go and instead focus on the real connections he’s made.

While making real-life connections with people is invaluable, today social media provides a fantastic way for introverts and ambiverts to establish a connection and make their voice heard without having to do it publicly. Rich said he’s met people in person after only knowing them online and was surprised to find out they were not the super-extroverted person they seemed on social media. Social media, like Twitter and LinkedIn, can in some ways act as a networking platform without the energy drain of face-to-face communication. If you are more introverted, try to use social media to your advantage as much as possible. And remember, it’s a false equivalency to say if an extroverted person is good at business, an introverted one cannot be.

Don’t forget to register for Rich Brook’s The Agents of Change digital marketing conference in Portland, ME on Sept. 19 & 20, 2019!


The PR Maven® Podcast is presented by Marshall Communications, creator of The Marshall Plan® strategic process. The Marshall Plan is a fully customized document using our 65 proprietary steps and leads to a playbook for your success. If you think your business or organization would be a candidate for a Marshall Plan, you can take our Marshall Plan quiz to find out. Visit Marshallpr.com/quiz.  

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