How introverted social entrepreneurs can find their inner Steve Jobs
The late Steve Jobs was the master of keynotes and product demonstrations. Capable of whipping the crowd into a frenzy over the introduction of even the smallest product feature, his performances were a sight to behold.
There are very few Steve Jobs types in the world. In fact, the vast majority of us are introverted in some way, but if you feel introverted to a point where you’re struggling to get word out about your social enterprise, it can be a troubling character trait.
If you’re nodding your head at this point, we’ve got some good news; everyone has an inner Steve Jobs. No matter how shy and afraid of public attention you are, you possess the ability to stand in front of any number of people and tell the story of your business venture.
Create your own culture for the social enterprise
Remember – this is your baby, and you can dictate the way it looks, feels and operates both internally and externally. That means you can create a culture for your social enterprise that matches your personality and enables you to express yourself naturally in public.
When you work for someone else, you have to conform to the business’s standards and persona, but the beauty of being a social entrepreneur is that you call the shots and can avoid putting yourself in situations where you feel incapable of being yourself.
Realise that it doesn’t rest solely on your shoulders
In certain client meetings and public speaking events, you may well be on your own, but the process of building an engaging public image for your social enterprise isn’t solely down to you.
Strategic partnerships with people who are stronger communicators than yourself yet who share the same beliefs and values are vital, and will enable to mix your introverted nature (which will be endearing to the outside world – trust us) with the pizzazz of an extravert.
That’s quite a combo for a social enterprise.
Find a mentor
If you find socialising within business circles tough or have attended too many networking events where you’ve simply sank into a corner of the room, unsure how to approach people, a mentor could be your guiding light.
If you can find yourself a strong mentor, you’ll build a relationship with someone who can both connect you with their own network but also demonstrate how they built it.
Mentors are inspiring and their attitude is infectious; you’ll change a great deal and for the better if you find the right one.
Put yourself in difficult situations and accept you might fail
We all learn from our failures, and as an introvert trying to build a social enterprise, a surefire way to fail positively is to put yourself in difficult, unnatural situations.
That might mean taking up a speaking appointment or pitching to a brand new client entirely on your own, but whatever it is, and if you stand a chance of failing, you should absolutely go for it – no matter how daft that sounds.
If you fail (and remember – you may not), it will be painful at first, but you’ll have gained vital insight into where you need to improve.
Remember – you’ll never make the same mistake twice.
Who you are doesn’t always dictate your behaviour
Sure, you don’t particularly enjoy mixing in large groups of people, yet that preference doesn’t have to dictate your behaviour.
Just because you usually clam up in such situations doesn’t mean you always will; sooner or later, you’ll find yourself in that very position and blow away any preconceptions you had about yourself by becoming the life and soul of the business meeting.
Similarly, extraverts aren’t always the focal point of gatherings. They like their alone time, too, which is why their preferences won’t necessarily dictate how they act in each situation, either.
Final thought: practice, practice, practice
If you don’t feel that you’re a strong communicator, you won’t find your inner Steve Jobs by burying your head in books on the subject; you need to get out there and practice.
Just remember to leave the preconceptions you have about yourself at the door and lean on others to help build both your personality and that of the social enterprise.