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Still hiding: Female introverts avoiding self promotion

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There's still a long way to go for women and self promotion

It seems the more I talk about this subject the more people resonate with it. Women are telling me that self promotion is the biggest thing that is holding them back.

And when I talk about self promotion I am not only referring to sales. I am talking about selling yourself. Speaking up and telling others how great you are. Asking for more. Sharing your ideas and opinions with confidence. Using your voice. Being heard.

It would seem that even when women are confident and successful at what they do, there is still an aspect of holding back from sharing that. They just get on with the day job, and hope that those they have impacted and worked with will tell others. And this is a great way of marketing, but it’s not the only way.

I sell confidence.

It is my thing and I love to help women feel more confident and believe in themselves. I not only have to show what I’ve got, and how I do that, but I also have to be confident too. Lead by example. But that doesn’t mean I can’t talk about the times when I am not. I am authentic and what you see is most definitely what you get.

I am not someone that becomes a different person when I walk on stage or has a new persona when I do a facebook live. I am actually quite proud of the fact that when I meet people in ‘real life’ they actually say ‘wow you are just the same’. And that’s because integrity is so important to me. Being who you say you are. Doing what you say you do. I can’t be anyone but me and I think this is the starting place for all women when it comes to self promotion.

You are selling you.

And that is the tough bit for a lot of people, especially introverts who I specialise in working with as they often want to avoid the spotlight or putting themselves in the middle of a massive noisy networking event full of small talk and people they would run a mile from, never mind work with.

A recent study by Lindeman, Durik & Dooley (2019) confirmed what we all think and that’s women worry too much about what others think of them. They go into more detail around stereotypes and the impact of what women want to do, in comparison of what they ‘should’ do, resulting in cognitive dissonance so they don’t promote themselves at all, but it comes down to that dualism - it is almost like we want to stand out, whilst wanting to fit in.

So where does that leave women who need to promote themselves?

The obvious answer is to forget what people think about you - but it isn’t as easy as that as this forms part of the belief system you hold about yourself created over your entire lifetime. So what is needed is to look at that cognitive dissonance between wanting to stand out and also belong, unpick those beliefs and start to form new ones in order to actively enjoy promoting yourself with the knowledge that it can only help others when you do. That it’s not all about you.

Then we have other obstacles that creep in like imposter syndrome and self doubts which can be tackled in the same way. In other words; self awareness is key to growth. Learn three proven strategies to be more confident with self promotion which I know has already helped so many women get started and feel good about it.

Promotion is serious business

If no one knows what you do then no one will buy - it is that simple. But you don’t have to do what everyone is doing and I think that in itself often puts women off too. Yet we are led to believe the opposite to be true; and whilst watching others we think we have to be like them to be heard or stand out. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Isn’t it time we started testing our own theories, experimenting and seeing what works for us? But to do that you have to start talking about YOU.

International Women’s Day

We are celebrating International Women’s day and celebrating ALL women around the world, there are still areas that need to be addressed. Not only equality in general, the gender pay gap, sexual exploitation, but also how we view ourselves. Where do we as individual women fit into this big picture on a day to day basis.

I know so may women who don’t know how amazing they are. They just don’t see what I see. And that’s why I love to be able to open their eyes and unlock all their power and potential. Women need to see the positives in promoting themselves in an authentic way that feels good to them. It doesn’t have to be the way ‘promotion’ has always been or always been seen - but can be fun and meaningful for everyone.

The more women can look inside themselves and make those changes they need to make to step up and speak out - then the more other women will be inspired to do the same.

This is the most important step as a female leader in your industry; to stand out amongst the noise at a time when the internet seems to be exploding with everyone doing the same thing.

You are not the same - you are unique - now go show them that.

** Gemma Stow works with female leaders who are introverts and are ready to take themselves and their business to the next level.  To find what is getting in the way of putting themselves forward, self promotion and creates a space for them to explore who they really are and who they want to become.  As well as  private coaching using high level techniques including CBT, NLP and MI , she runs Introverts Talk Biz events where women come together to share ideas, struggles and make plans. More info on the next one HERE. Or book in a chat with Gemma if you are looking to increase your confidence so that you can do the things you keep telling yourself you can’t do **

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You don't need to be extroverted to be successful or happier

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Articles and opinions telling me how I should be more extroverted to be successful in business frustrate me.

There are so many and even the ones that are supposed to be championing us introverts are still using the same old descriptors, shy, quiet, anti social……for the love of god please hear me when I say - Introverts are phenomenal, can be loud, ambitious, strong and love meeting people. Ok so we might have to hibernate for a day or two after doing all that but that doesn’t mean we don’t want to! I am not quiet but I LOVE quiet.

Introverts are amazing business owners and amazing people!

Research seems to be finally figuring it out that we don’t have to be more extroverted to be happier - come on, you really think that’s news to us? Why would we to change who we are. Of course we want to learn new ways of doing things, but that doesn’t mean we want to be more extroverted. We like being who we are. I love that I can spend time alone and come up wth ideas and the answers to things I have been overthinking for days. I love that feeling after I have actually been to a networking event when I get home and kick off my shoes, put my pjs on and feel proud to have met some new interesting people and told them about what I am up to. I love challenging myself to do the things I think I can’t only to realise I can actually do them and if I can do this then nothing is out of my reach.

Please don’t let your introversion stop you doing anything if you want it that much. If you don’t and you are happy to chill out at home and stay in your comfort zone then that’s fine too. It’s all about what YOU want that matters and that might mean stepping up and out of that comfort zone!

Asking or expecting somebody to change what is fundamental about them like their personality, is never going to make anyone happier.

Now I am the biggest believe in change. I was a Probation officer for years and also worked with some very vulnerable and challenging young people so I know that believing in change is part of who I am. It is possible for everyone. But this is about change that is welcomed or craved. Saying things like ‘introverts will be more happier if they are more extroverted’ is like the craziest thing I have heard. I am happiest to be me. Yes I am happy to push and challenge myself because that’s part of my personality too! It has nothing to do with me being an introvert. Introversion is about energy and I get my energy from being alone it’s as simple as that.

There is a massive difference between changing WHO you are and challenging yourself to do things you THINK you can't. The things you actually WANT to do.

Introverts are great leaders.

Now someone recently said to me “No we are looking for strong dynamic and entrepreneurial types - not introverts!”. Oh really. Well check out some of the great leaders in the world to realise that this belief is just nonsense and so outdated. I consider myself to be all of these things and I bet you do too.

Working for yourself, building your own business and being ambitious will mean (regardless of personality) that you will have to push yourself to do things you haven't done before. If it were easy everyone would be doing it. But not everyone will or can be a leader and that is something you have to decide for yourself - are you ready to lead or follow?

It's not easy but it can be so worthwhile and not just have a massive impact on your business, but also massively boost your own confidence too. For instance I have supported women to step up and tell more people about how great they are at what they do and what they stand for, despite them feeling 'cringey', because we worked together to find a way that felt GOOD to them. You don’t have to do it the way ‘extroverts’ have done business over the years.

You have the chance to carve out your own path. Do that.

**Gemma Stow works with female leaders who are introverts and are ready to take themselves and their business to the next level.  To find what is getting in the way of putting themselves forward and creates a space for them to explore who they really are and who they want to become.  As well as high level private coaching, she runs Introverts Talk Biz events where women come together to share ideas, struggles and make plans. More info on the next one HERE. Or book in a chat with Gemma if you are looking to increase your confidence so that you can do the things you keep telling yourself you can’t do **

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Am I an introvert and why it matters in business?

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So many people say to me “ you don’t need to label people we are all different”. Of course I know this already. Having worked in the public sector in probation, and with young people with different challenging behaviour there can be nothing worse than being labelled and being put into a box that is a one size fits all scenario!

But labelling can also have it’s benefits.

For years I used to think that I didn’t measure up. Questioning myself why couldn’t I be more like ‘her’, love public speaking, oozing confidence, full of charisma, the life and soul of the party?

It’s really important in business that you figure out who you are and get really clear on what you can do, what you think you can’t do and what you really want to do.

People often tell me that people that there is no need for labelling and who cares if you’re introvert or extrovert personality, but of course it does matter as it’s all about who you are and what you like to do and enjoy to do, rather than having to always feel like you’re not good enough because you don’t do things in a certain way and that is often the case for introverts.

Business is about telling others about what you do.

You know business is about the selling, marketing, visibility, putting yourself out there and at the same time all those things can scare the hell out of introverts because it’s doesn’t always appeal to us. However the only reason it scares us is because we associate all these things with being big, loud and in your face. When they really don’t need to be.

I know a lot of introverts that are amazing at selling because they do it in a way that feels good to them. They make real connections with people, build relationships get to know their customers. You just have to find the way that works for you not against you. I’m all about you finding out what your superpowers are and using them to your advantage in your business.


Am I an introvert?

So the traditional way to decide about your personality is to do the old school personality tests. I’m sure you’ve heard of Myers Briggs and other kind of personality questionnaires that you can spend time filling in your preferences and then it will come back and tell you what kind of personality you’ve got and what your strengths and your weaknesses are and all that kind of stuff.

If you’re interested here a few links to some of the personality test that you can take to see what you’re kind of personality is and they can be quite enlightening actually and when you read things about yourself like that makes sense under things start to fall into place for you. Check out Susan Cain’s or Sixteen personalities to start with.

It might also make you realise you know where some areas in your business needs some work. You know you are the expert at what you do for work, however there are always things in business that we avoid because they just don’t feel good are they not aligned with our personality.

So I am an introvert, what now?

Well now is the exciting part you get to look at all the areas of your life and see where your strengths are and how you can play on those strengths and use them to your advantage in business. It is all about looking at the things that you’ve previously decided aren’t for you and maybe to take a new perspective on them. For example a business owner downloaded my free guide on how to network even if you are an introvert and hate talking to strangers. After that she got in touch and told me the impact that had on her networking journey. She had started to regularly attend a local event. She has now spoken at that event and won an award for her business. From telling herself that networking wasn’t her thing to actually finding the right one for her has been a massive game changer!


So why not think of three things and figure out what it is but you need to focus on more in your business to really get the results you’re after. What have you been avoiding and telling yourself it isn’t your thing? Take a new perspective on it - how can you use your strengths to make it work for you?

I couldn’t find a networking event that really worked for me - so I started my own ‘Introverts Talk Biz’ and I haven’t looked back. The feedback has been incredible. One women said it was a like ‘coming home’ and she realised she could actually enjoy networking.

Here are three things you can think about….

  1. Where do your clients come from and are you actually being visible in that area? Just because it doesn’t necessarily float your boat - it might float your clients? Can you make it work?

  2. Figure out what makes business fun for you? It’s all about enjoying what you do - so take stock of your business model - does it actually serve you?

  3. Make sure you factor time in your diary to re-energise. If you’re pushing yourself out of your comfort zone by going to networking events, showing up online etc you need to factor in some time alone to get your energy back. If you don’t do this you and keep pushing without time for yourself you start to become exhausted and feel negative towards your work, which could reinforce that you shouldn’t be doing the things you doing, when actually a lot of good and positive things can come from it.

When people tell you that it doesn’t matter if you’re an introvert, extrovert or someone in between, it actually really does matter and it really matters to your business and the success you want. Don’t hold back from trying different things - it might just be that you need to do things in your own way!

So maybe it’s about time you figured out what this means to you and how you can use it to your advantage. Figure out what your true strengths are and have some fun in business, it doesn’t have to be stressful and yes it will be hard work, but building a business is a rollercoaster so why not find the fun in everything you are doing instead of feeling scared or avoiding it.

Figuring out that you’re an introvert in business can be the best thing that ever happened. Let me know how you get on.

**Gemma Stow works with female entrepreneurs who are introverts and are ready to take themselves and their business to the next level.  To find their fierce and take that all important action.  As well as private coaching, she runs a membership called Club Fierce that gives that personal touch to women who are looking for support, accountability and an environment that breeds self belief and results.  More info HERE. Or book in a chat with her if you are looking to increase your confidence in different areas and find your inner fierce **

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