Introvert Alert

Introvert Alert: Don’t Shy Away From A Career In Advertising

By Staff Writer
In June 11, 2013

I’ve been reading a lot about introverts lately. And because I am one, I’ve been doing it in the quiet of my own home with my dog by my side. I find myself muttering things like, “Well, no wonder …” and “Now you tell me …” as I come to understand the relationship between being an introvert and surviving — even thriving — in an advertising career.

Here’s what I’ve learned: That introversion isn’t about being shy. It’s about being fueled by energy that comes from within, as opposed to the stimulation around you. My husband is a total extrovert. If we get separated at a large business or social function, I look for him among the throngs in the middle of the room. He’ll likely find me making a new best friend while waiting in line for the ladies room.

So, in my exploration, I’ve come across all kinds of interesting tidbits about introverts in general, and advertising introverts in particular. Part of my job as an ad agency principal is to to ensure that we create a balanced, yin-and-yang environment that fosters creativity, productivity, and harmony. As luck would have it, my partner, Rick Riley, is an extrovert. He thrives on conversation, brainstorming sessions, and making wildly creative presentations. Our staff of 20 includes both introverts and extroverts, although it’s not always obvious which one’s which because they all engage in many of the same behaviors. What I’ve found is that both are critical to making our business percolate, as long as we grant each individual the freedom to be themselves.

So, if you happen to be an introverted person aspiring to work in an ad agency — or you’ve already landed in one — be sure to ask for what you need to perform at your highest level.

Tips to help introverts thrive in an advertising career.

If you’re not the type to spew a fountain of ideas during a meeting, request a little alone time to engage in your own creative process, then submit your ideas in a one-on-one situation, or in a written document.

introvert submit your ideas

Not everyone’s fast on their feet. If you prefer to spend a few minutes thinking about a question or issue before answering, say so. A thoughtful response will be valued more than a speedy one.

introvert thoughtful response

When making a presentation, define a role for yourself that plays up your strengths and minimizes your discomfort. Some of the most compelling presentations I’ve ever heard were made by individuals who spoke softly but straight from the heart.

introvert speake softly but straight from the heart

If after a long day of meetings you feel too depleted to be lively at a client dinner, suggest a break in between. Some in your group will welcome the opportunity to recharge their own batteries. The rest will happily wait for you in the bar.

introvert meditation

Introversion or extroversion is an innate and essential part of one’s personal and professional brand. Introverts just have to work a little harder in a field like advertising because we tend to avoid the spotlight and eschew taking credit overtly. But our value to a collaborative, free-flowing environment is undeniable. And given that introverts represent roughly a third of the population, odds are that some of your clients fall into that category as well, and will connect with you in a very genuine way.

Furthermore, introverts are in good creative company. Einstein and Edison were introverts. Actors Clint Eastwood, Harrison Ford, Steve Martin, Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep are admittedly introverted. So are fictional characters like Jay Gatsby, who throws huge, lavish parties but remains an enigmatic outlier. And Mad Men’s Don Draper, whose complex brand of introversion is masked by a purely fabricated persona.

But the example that sums it all up for me is Batman, who immerses himself completely into his work as a superhero, then invariably retreats to the solitude of the Bat Cave.

Hey … maybe that’s it. Maybe you just need to make sure your ad agency comes equipped with a Bat Cave.

Introvert Alert

Staff Writer

So who is this mysterious staff writer? Could be anyone really, as long as they meet our very strict criteria. 1) Worked with us in one capacity or another. 2) Have something pretty interesting to say. 3) Want to use our blog to say it. See? Told ya they were strict!