I’d been sitting at a lively poker table at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas for about an hour when the guy to my right says to me, “You haven’t said much.” I had been laughing and enjoying the banter while I had also quietly raked in a couple of nice sized pots.
I smiled at him and said, “I usually am pretty quiet, but if I have something to say, I will.”
It’s not a poker strategy I’ve developed. I am an introvert. Some extroverts may mistake introversion for a lack of confidence or a dislike of people. If I didn’t like people, I wouldn’t be sitting at a poker table to play the game; I’d be online. To me, being an introvert just means that I need time alone to recharge and reflect, versus an extrovert who needs interaction with people to gain energy.
Introverts and extroverts come in all sizes and degrees so it’s not fair to say that I am like all introverts, but I did smile when I received an email from a woman named Lisa who is struggling to create the real estate portfolio she wants because she is an introvert. She basically said:
I have watched a lot of your videos and realize you’re not an introvert, but maybe you could write an article to help introverts who don’t want to deal with small talk, who get underestimated and don’t stand out in an extroverted world.
Extroversion, just like introversion has its challenges. Introversion, however, is only a weakness if you believe it is. There is a lot of power in the quiet reflection that comes with introversion.
Here’s 3 ways to use your natural tendencies as an introvert to your advantage and create massive success in business and real estate investing:
1. Listening Uncovers Opportunities
We were at an open house looking at a property that was an estate sale. The realtor mentioned that the sisters were coming into town on the weekend to “deal with” all the stuff in their brother’s home after he had passed. I tuned into this and asked a few questions of the realtor. I found out the sisters were his only family and they were just a few years younger than their brother. The house was packed with stuff and I suspected it would be overwhelming for them, so we offered with a quick close and put it in our offer than anything they didn’t want they could leave in the house and we would handle it. We got it for a great price, added a suite to this property and it’s now one of our best cash flowing properties.
It would have been easy to miss this opportunity without careful listening.
When people are selling their home they often try to hide the real reason, but good listening can pick up what people aren’t saying. It’s also ENORMOUSLY beneficial in screening out tenants who may not be telling the whole truth. And when you’re networking, there is nothing more powerful than being a good listener. You’ll build connections, people will think you’re smart (it’s a funny thing that happens when you listen more than you speak – the person you are speaking with thinks you’re smart probably because you’re listening to them), and you’ll walk away knowing more about everyone you meet.
Ask people interesting questions and you’ll find it’s way more fun to network, meet people and you will absolutely uncover opportunities in business and real estate that other people miss because they are just talking away about themselves. You’ll also be in a strong position to persuade or influence someone to your way of thinking because you’ll understand their perspective from listening to them talk so much.
2. Plan Your Networking in Advance
You DO have to get out of your house and network. When you encounter a big challenge in your investment business (And you WILL – I don’t know an investor out there who doesn’t hit some big problems here and there), who will help you if you haven’t built relationships with like minded people?
Networking events aren’t my favourite activity. They take up a lot of energy for me, but I have found ways to enjoy them more by asking people more interesting questions like ‘how did you meet?’ “what keeps you busy most days?’ ‘why did you move here/take this job/come to this event?” and “what’s gone really well for you this year / what’s been a really struggle this year?”. I get to know some of the most interesting people asking questions like this.
To maximize your results and minimize the energy you expend to meet people, do your homework in advance. Find out who will be there (meetup.com is great because you can learn about the other people going to an event) and make note of 2 or 3 people you want to connect with. Google their names, check their Twitter feed or Facebook page to learn about them. When you see them, introduce yourself, let them know why you wanted to connect with them, and share a couple of things about yourself that will be relevant for them. If you want to make the in person connection even easier, find them online and say hello first. Let them know you’re going to be at the same event and look forward to seeing them. Most people, whether they are a speaker or an attendee, will appreciate the connection online and will remember you when you say hi at the event.
Bottom line, as an introvert, your best approach to networking is going to be to focus on making a few quality connections per event versus trying to meet everyone. And guess what? Small chat isn’t connection, so Lisa, no worries that you hate small chat, nobody remembers the person that asked them if they watched the Montreal Canadians sweep into the second round of the playoffs – but they do remember the person who shared a few personal details about themselves, asked great questions and really listened to their answers.
3. Shine in Your Own Way
Lisa said that one of her challenges is that “introverts don’t make a lasting impression. The wallflower is easy to ignore.”
We have a friend who talks to everyone he meets. He quickly becomes the center of attention in most scenarios and we love him for it. He’s entertaining and a little crazy. I sometimes feel a little envious of how easy it is for him to interact with everyone he meets (and make many of them laugh!). I don’t stand out in a crowd like he does. While I am envious, the real truth is I actually don’t want to stand out like that. I am far more comfortable to chat with someone one on one than I am to have all eyes on me.
Here’s the cool thing about this … everyone can stand out in their own way.
If you believe you will be underestimated or you’ll go unnoticed then you probably will, but not because you’re quiet – because you don’t believe in your value. Back to my poker example, I’ve only really just started to play poker in the last year. I win more than I lose, but I have a long way to go before I would call myself good. Interestingly though, I have found that my abilities get overestimated. Shortly after I sat down at the table, one of the guys looked at me and said “You make me nervous.” Another man, an older gentleman stopped calling me when I raised a bet because he said “I’m not going to give you the pay day you’re looking for”. I was totally bluffing when he said that. I am certain he had me beat so I was pretty happy when he folded.
I’ve done a lot of work on myself over the years and feel pretty confident and comfortable in my skin most days. I don’t need to be the center of attention to have that shine through. In fact, I have actually been told by a few coworkers, clients, and colleagues that I can be rather intimidating when you don’t know me. Imagine that – an introvert that tends to the quiet side – being intimidating?!
People will sense your power and ability regardless of whether you’re speaking or not. If you don’t believe in yourself, it doesn’t matter if you’re outgoing or reserved, your abilities will be overlooked and you won’t be as memorable.
The only thing that won’t work is trying to be something you’re not. Be who you are and find ways to accomplish your goals in a way that works for you. Many of the world’s great leaders (and real estate investors) are introverts. It’s only a handicap if you think it is. Great things only come when you step outside your comfort zone – it doesn’t matter where that zone is for you. Embrace your introversion and be your fabulous self! People will want to hear you when you speak and you’ll absolutely be memorable.