We need to promote ourselves to advance in our careers. We need to promote ourselves to remain employed during the financial turmoil. Introverts often get passed over mistakenly. Nancy Ancowitz offers a solid dose of practical advice – alongside humorous anecdotes – for introverts to assert themselves by using their inherent tendencies in the most effective ways. She suggests that 4 out of 10 top executives are introverts. Some great examples of introverts include Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Charles Schwab, Steven Spielberg, Brenda Barnes, and comedian Jerry Seinfeld.
BOOK REVIEW: Self-Promotion for Introverts: The Quiet Guide to Getting Ahead by Nancy Ancowitz. New York: McGraw Hill (2009).
Self-Promotion for Introverts contains eight chapters written in a practical, precise, and smart way, Ancowitz shows introverts how to take advantage of the unique qualities and strengths they can offer, but also how to network, build visibility, have a memorable impact on others, speak publicly, interview effectively, own their own strengths, and much more.
Your Negative Self-Talk (Tuning out U-SUCK Radio) – In this chapter Ancowitz addresses the loudest voice introverts hear: their own. She guides you through an exercise specifically directed at facts, the main area of focus for introverts.
Your Target Audience: Going Inward and Reaching Outward – In this chapter, Ancowitz illustrates both how to harness one’s strength of going inward and how to match that to what the audience wants. Introverts tend not to push something on someone who doesn’t want it, and the chapter essentially demonstrates how to construct an overlap between what the audience wants and what a introvert may say.
Your Chalk Talk: Public Speaking for Private People – In this chapter, Ancowitz talks about presentations, and hits every anxiety button one might have about public speaking. I’d say this chapter is for everyone – not just the introverts. There are suggestions and tips on how to stand, what to wear, rehearsing, and more.
Benefits of Self-Promotion for Introverts
There are at least 3 special remarks on this book from my point of view:
- Ancowitz doesn’t only offer knowledge from her own thoughts. She also gathers wisdom from different introverts and extroverts sharing their insights throughout the book. Another merit of the book is the set of proven examples and anecdotes from well-known public figures such as Bill Clinton, Earvin Johnson, Warren Buffett. Writers from PPND like Senia Maymin and Caroline Miller offer wisdom from the positive psychology perspective. These fascinating advice demonstrated in reality how to “quietly” self-promote oneself without bragging or coming across as an obnoxious fool, and are remarkably convincing, encouraging and empowering.
- Though the book is designed for workplace, Ancowitz’s advice is also applicable to life in general – how to get the most out of short conversations, how to deal with extroverted friends, and how to restructure goals and strategies in line with one’s own personal needs and strengths. I am impressed by the way she explains how to access one’s own natural enthusiasm and authenticity in a way that feels comfortable and confident, not faking or bragging.
- One important thing to note is that the book is not about teaching an introvert to become an extrovert. The aim of the book is not to change people to be something they are not, but rather to refine them into the strongest versions of what they already are.
Why as a PPND Reader You Will Enjoy This Book
After reading the book, I am sure one need not be an introvert to benefit from Self-Promotion for Introverts. Even people who aren’t inwardly focused can still suffer a meltdown when faced with a public speaking opportunity or a dreadful job interview. The tips and checklists offered in the book help overcome even transitory instants of shyness, and are relevant to anyone who is out of work or trying to change direction in life.
If you want to promote yourself authentically, you’ll need to have thorough reflections on yourself. You’ll need to understand and embrace your strengths, and try to make full use of strengths come into full play. This aligns closely with the doctrines of positive psychology. As educational thinker Shakti Gattegno once said,
“Self-promotion starts with self-reflection, which requires observing oneself in the lighting of awareness and without judgment. It helps to pay close attention to what you are or have rather than to emphasize what you think you’re not or don’t have. The more one is connected to oneself, the greater will be one’s capacity to reach out. And the less one will expend energy trying to please the world.”
To sum up, one does not have to be naturally good at self-promotion to succeed, but one does have to learn to value the process with enough enthusiasm to see that it gets done. And get done it will. Thanks to the insight in Nancy Ancowitz’s book.
Ancowitz, N. (2009). Self-Promotion for Introverts: The Quiet Guide to Getting Ahead. New York: McGraw Hill.