I am not by nature a shy person, which I am very grateful for. I am happy meeting new people, I do lots of public speaking, and I am fine with chatting on the phone following up “warm leads” and enquiries.
But I do have some “fears”
for me, cold calling is the absolute last resort ever and I would prefer to do any other type of sales and marketing activity. And I also am working to overcome my fears of being on camera, filming and publishing videos. I have a current mandate to film and then put online in various channels as much as possible, and sit through my paranoia “what if everyone thinks I look and sound stupid” and just get through it.
If you’re “shy” and in business, you may have fears with the following:
- Making videos where you’re in them
- Sharing your opinions and thoughts on industry specific topics
- Public speaking
As a business owner, if you have hesitation about these things, then I’d recommend strongly that you see them as challenges to overcome – practice and put yourself out there, see it as a major personal development project. This is what I am currently working on with videos!
In the meantime:
While you’re working on conquering these, below are some other “easy” activities and things to tick off which I feel will be no problem at all even if you’re quite a shy person – though perhaps some of the ones further down the list may feel a little more intense. Here goes:
Professionally taken approachable picture: Depending on the business, I am mostly in favour of each person in the team having a picture of themselves. There are rules though. The images should be consistent with each other in some way, so it doesn’t look like everyone sent in their different holiday snaps, iphone selfies, and nightclub shots. They should be professionally taken by a headshot photographer with good lighting. A good photographer (like our favourite, Nada Stankova) makes you feel comfortable and makes you look good. I recommend you smile (at least a little bit), as it makes you more friendly and approachable.
Bio: In the bio (which will be on the team/about page on your website, as well as other collateral), write a little bit about yourself, what you’re known to be good at work. Or, in a team, you can each write something about each other. On a website, all the team bios should be generally the same length in terms of word count, with a similar style of writing / content. It’s worth paying attention and putting effort into the company bio you have written on your company LinkedIn page, company Facebook page, and Twitter/Instagram profiles.
First person writing: On LinkedIn, I recommend writing your summary and the description of your current and previous work roles in the first person – as in “I” not “He” or “She”. It means you have to talk from your own point of view – why you do what you do, what brought you to this point in your career, what you love, and what you’ve learned. This can actually create a humbler and more authentic feel than writing your bio in the third person (which gives the impression that a secretary wrote this for you)
Content Marketing: This is a way of marketing your business which is all about what you’re giving to people. Unlike advertising, you’re not promoting/making special offers. Instead you’re sharing information, and insights you have gathered in your business, highlighting your team, showcasing your clients, and giving useful tips/how-tos. All of this activity (if designed and written well, and in line with your company’s key messages) will keep your business in the minds of your audience, in relation to what you do and say.
Case Studies: If you’ve had a successful project with a customer/client, it’s worth writing these into articles or turning them into case studies on your website. Other businesses who may see themselves as similar in some way to those examples can then read / absorb the story, and learn about how they too could benefit from working with you. You can even go one step further and film little videos with your clients/customers, if they are happy with your service. It can be done in a way that highlights and promotes them as well.
A day in the life: It’s one thing getting into good marketing habits of planning content ahead of time, pre-writing and predesigning in batches to make best use of time and always be ahead in terms of your publishing schedule. On the other side is the spontaneous creation of content, which tends to be a little harder for those of us who perhaps don’t want to seem “too American”. However, creating on-the go content can really show people you’re out there doing what you do and doing it well. It’s also a way to show personality and get people to feel more connected to you.
Examples of spontaneous marketing activity can be:
- Behind the scenes reportage (“It occurred to me today that many people don’t recognise the importance of X…”)
- On the fly videos (“I’m here in front of the X building, about to go in and lead a workshop on X”)
- Spontaneous photos and captions (“today I visited X client to discuss strategy”)
- Shared content with your own comment/take on things
So, I hope that this has been encouraging and no one minds a confirmed extrovert writing an advice post aimed at introverts – I would hate to think there are people who might consider this unhelpful as in “how would she know how I feel anyway” because even though I am happy with many aspects of putting myself out there, I do have to overcome some of my fears with the video thing. Just don’t ask me to do cold calling!