By Bryan Orr

Business leadership favors the extrovert… or at least that’s what we’ve been conditioned to believe. The leader who wins is the one who talks the fastest and most and gets “the deal” or “works the room.”

If you are an introvert you may have grown to accept this or even resent it. Cheer up, your introvert nature may be a disadvantage in certain situations, but it can also be an advantageous secret weapon.  Here are some introvert superpowers and ways to use them in a negotiation.

1. Listen

As an introvert it’s easier for you than for an extrovert, to listen carefully to what someone is saying without rushing ahead in your mind to think about what you will say next. This gives you an advantage when unlocking the hidden interests, fears and desires of the person you are speaking with.

Pay close attention to the emotion in their voice, when you hear their pitch and energy change that’s when you want to ask for more detail. Listen for ways to match the deal you are looking to get with their interests, fears and desires, it takes a careful listener to be able to do that.

2. Plan

Introverts tend to plan better and pay attention to detail. These skills clearly translate well into mission critical jobs like engineering and accounting, but they can also be a big advantage in a negotiation.

Come in with a deep knowledge of the other person, their work history and their business successes and challenges. A few detailed, laser targeted sentences that show you have a real understanding of them and their business puts you at a huge advantage over a big talker spouting canned jargon.

3. Remain Silent

In a negotiation, at the moment of truth, the one who speaks first, loses. Many extroverts just go CRAZY when there is dead air and they start throwing numbers and ideas around just to make the discomfort go away. If you remain calm, let the dead air hang and wait…….

You will come out ahead.

It has been said that in a negotiation the person who is most willing to get up and walk away usually comes out on top. The fun part about being an introvert is that others will often think you are ready to walk just because you are being calm and quiet.

4. Make Eye Contact

This one is tough for many introverts, but if you can learn it you will be kryptonite to the high flying extrovert negotiators around you.

Many introverts avoid eye contact, it can feel threatening, dominant, aggressive to an introvert but there is nothing that signals low confidence than someone who is looking down or away when speaking or listening.

On the other hand, have you ever had a conversation with an introvert who looks you right in the eye with a calm and pleasant smile? It’s powerful. Introverts can be some of the best negotiators, and what would be more satisfying than successfully negotiating with a big talking extrovert?


Reading a book alone would be better. I almost forgot.