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Thanks for posting this, Don. I really appreciate it!
How do you think introverts and shy people can succeed at events (like tech conferences) that cater to extroverts? How can they survive in a world that constantly demands that they share, share, SHARE?!
My post documents the things that have worked for me, but I'm interested in what works for you. Thoughts?
I can put on the extrovert hat when necessary. A lot of that comes from being an assertive parent, and years of retail + outside sales experience. I embrace the fact that is is far more difficult for extros to act like intros and that we can wear the extro hat. I leverage sharing in lieu of not writing my own stuff. Works out well when there is a community (such as digital marketing) that has the kind of talent/intellect that creates an environment where you can have influence/authority just by sharing. Plus, there's this: The Power of Introverts
Nice, I watched that, too. It's a great talk and I highly recommend Susan's book as well. We don't have kids, but I can definitely see how parenting can stretch your boundaries in terms of introversion/extroversion.
I also liked what you mentioned about what you learned from working retail. I did that, too, and I totally agree that it's a great tool for becoming more comfortable with interacting with people.
There was a fun discussion on Inbound last week about whether college degrees are necessary to do SEO. Your comment makes me wonder if physical customer service experience (retail, restaurants, etc.) is a pre-requisite as well.
I would say retail is definitely a great experience to have in ecommerce. I dropped out of college and it never prevented me from making a good living, and I don't encourage anyone to incur the debt that student loans can create. Commissioned sales and SEO are *the* autodidact career paths, IMO. If I can jump into a fire of having to talk to people on a sales floor, I can certainly teach myself how to acquire traffic to a website.
I'm not extremely introverted but definitely to recharge my batteries alone after a day at a conference. I liked your structure idea--I start conferences w/ a bunch of pre-planned questions like "How did you end up here?" or "How did you get roped into XYZ?" The responses are fascinating and definitely help break the ice.
Sometimes it's hard to know how to extricate myself from a conversation so at a conference I usually ask for a business card and said it would be great to stay in touch. At SEO conferences, that's an easy out b/c usually everybody you meet is cool but at some events, that's not always the case:)
This might be a dumb question... but what's the definition/qualifications of "introvert" vs. "extrovert"? Is it based upon how certain situations make you feel? Or something else... ?
Dan, I have always gone by this as the definition/qualification: Meyers-Briggs Personality Test
Thanks! This is the exact page with the distinctions: http://www.myersbriggs.org/my-mbti-personality-type/mbti-basics/extraversion-or-introversion.asp
Perhaps I wasn't sure of the differences, because looking at the criteria I'm a dead even 50/50 mix it seems.
That's pretty much the definition of someone who's flexible and comfortable working in either preference. A helpful skill and personality trait that will serve you well just about anywhere. I fall on the "I" side and as I get worn out from work, school, speaking/travel, the needle goes even further into the "I" territory.
That's why I came up with these ways of structuring my time and recharging my energy. Otherwise, I'd never be able to share anything with anyone! :)
Good link. I was never clear on this part:
"Everyone spends some time extraverting and some time introverting. Don’t confuse Introversion with shyness or reclusiveness. They are not related."
I read her examples, though, and I feel like I can apply both statements equally to myself. I can answer yes to 4/5 questions on each section. Reading Dan's comment below I wonder how common that is.
These assessments are highly subjective--others will rate you on a scale, which I kind of like. I'm about 50/50 too, leaning toward the introverted side.
The question I always ask when people are wondering which they are is: When you finish socializing with a group of people, do you walk away drained or energized? The answer is usually a pretty good indication of the person's tendency.
Brilliant! Nice guide... I'm a shy person and needed this for sure!