Leadership

Shy People Tend to Have This Coveted Leadership Skill

Former Managing Editor
4 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

So, you're never first to raise your hand during meetings and you're uncomfortable schmoozing with strangers at networking events. Does that mean you're doomed to fail in the business world?

Not even close, shy one.

Those on the quiet side tend to be good listeners, giving them a serious edge over their more talkative, sometimes oversharing counterparts, says etiquette coach Jacqueline Whitmore, founder of The Protocol School of Palm Beach.

"That's a really important skill that most of us need more practice [on]," she says.

If you're a shy entrepreneur looking to grow your business, Whitmore says there are several secret weapons that can help you. For one, be sure to hire people whose strengths are your weaknesses – particularly in marketing or sales, where having a more outgoing personality tends to be of greater importance. Also, if you're really nervous about meeting someone face to face, start out with email or IM before graduating to an in-person interaction.

At the same time, challenge yourself to break out of your shell. Whitmore, who describes herself as having a shy side, says you can learn to face down your fears through practice.

"I know when to turn on the charm. I know when I have to work a room. I know when I have to teach a course. It's an acquired skill," she says.

Read more of Whitmore's tips here and check out the video above.

Related: 

How Introverts Can Power Through Networking Events

One Way to Calm Down Before a Presentation

For Better Conversations, Replace 'How Are You?' With This One Phrase

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