• Sharebar

So I know that most people in banking and trading are huge extroverts, but I am certainly not one of them. I have been introverted all my life. I am gradually becoming more extroverted now as I get older, but I am not where I need to be to be successful or comfortable in social situations. I mean, I am not awkward or anything, but I just tend to sit and listen and feel like I don't say anything when people are talking.

Is there any way to change this? Is there really any way to become more extroverted? One thing that I have done for a while is just to act like I am extroverted, even though its almost painful on the inside, which has worked somewhat in making me more comfortable. But is there really any other way to do it, and do you guys think its possible?

The WSO Advantage - Investment Banking

Financial Modeling Training

IB Templates, M&A, LBO, Valuation + Learn More.

IB Interview Prep Pack

30,000+ sold & REAL questions Learn More.

Resume Help from Actual IB Pros

Land More IB Interviews. Learn More.

Find Your Perfect IB Mentor

Realistic IB Mock Interviews. Learn More.

Comments (47)

  • jasond999's picture

    This has to be a troll post. A deeply disturbed troll who has probably sat on the sidelines trolling/introverting till they realized that it pays to be a human. Again business is about WHO YOU ARE not WHO YOU WANT TO BE. Can't change personality.

    step 1. Change ur name from wannabe because that is exactly what you are
    step 2. Gain some confidence, everyone else isn't extroverted...they are obnoxious, oblivious and have no filter
    step 3. While considering and convincing yourself of step 2...become the 'rational voice'... you will speak more, and offend less.

    ...troll

  • kingtut's picture

    Most of the IBD analysts I have ever been friends with, met, interviewed, etc... are not overly extroverted. It would be tough to grind out 80-100 hours in a cube with very little social interaction if you were extremely extroverted. Extroverts largely draw their energy from other people rather than from themselves.

    Once you get beyond the analyst level the social dynamic changes tremendously. At the end of the day the senior bankers are nothing more than salesmen. It's certainly different than selling used cars, but their goal is to sell the bank's clients on its services and brand.

  • Virginia Tech 4ever's picture

    Extraversion and introversion are built-in personality traits. Your personality doesn't change much after age 3 or 4. But I think you're using the term wrong. Extraverts are basically those who are energized by being around people and introverts are those who are energized by quiet/alone time. Being "shy" or untalkative has nothing to do with extraversion or introversion.

    The real question is, how do I be less shy and more talkative even though it pains me? Necessity is the mother of all invention. If you have to, you will. If it's hurting your career or your life then, out of necessity, you will push through. That personality trait will not change--but perhaps "acting" will become more normal the more you do it.

  • whatwhatwhat's picture
  • In reply to whatwhatwhat
    duffmt6's picture

    whatwhatwhat:
    alcohol

    This. Or addy. Assuming you actually mean outgoing/talkative and not extroverted.

    "For I am a sinner in the hands of an angry God. Bloody Mary full of vodka, blessed are you among cocktails. Pray for me now and at the hour of my death, which I hope is soon. Amen."

  • In reply to jasond999
    seabird's picture

    jasond999:
    This has to be a troll post. A deeply disturbed troll who has probably sat on the sidelines trolling/introverting till they realized that it pays to be a human. Again business is about WHO YOU ARE not WHO YOU WANT TO BE. Can't change personality.

    step 1. Change ur name from wannabe because that is exactly what you are
    step 2. Gain some confidence, everyone else isn't extroverted...they are obnoxious, oblivious and have no filter
    step 3. While considering and convincing yourself of step 2...become the 'rational voice'... you will speak more, and offend less.

    ...troll

    You, sir, are an ass. The man is trying to work through a real, difficult problem to better himself - hes identified a problem and he is looking for input on the best ways to solve it. Hes not worse as a character for having this trait.

    Op, Virginia gives good advice. I would recommend reading How to Win Friends and Influence People. If you have the money and time, Id also advise you to attend the Carnegie public speaking course - Warren Buffett was rather introverted as a young man, and he took this course and has credited his having taken it with his success as a speaker and in general. The important things to realize, I think are several:

    Smile
    Learn to appreciate people, and that everyone has something(s) appreciable about them, and talk in terms of the other persons interests
    Make the other person feel important, and give them plenty of opportunity to talk

    I think a good way to develop these habits is to go out of your way to develop them. Try to give appreciation to at least one person a day who you otherwise wouldn't have reason to. Go to networking events and talk to people who you otherwise wouldn't. Also, read Ben Franklin's autobiography. He has a method for improving his character that he started when he was young and which he practiced through his life that he considered crucial to his success.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Franklin#Thi...

    I used to have a lot of trouble in social situations. I remember going to parties and being utterly terrified, and feeling drained of all my energy when I was there. It takes time to work on this, and I still see myself slipping up, but it is worth it.

    "...all truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."

    - Schopenhauer

  • Ambition's picture

    Sex, then you will sing

    I JUST HAD SEX (by akon)

    most extrovert thing you will ever do.

    I want a lady on the street, but a freak in the bed,

    Go Bucks!!

  • esbanker's picture

    you can't categorize bankers or traders as just extroverted or introverted. sure, you have to know how to talk to people, but you don't necessarily have to make yourself be known at all times.

    just be yourself, and be okay with it. you can be a quiet person in the workplace, but as long as you are comfortable in your own skin, then people will respect you.

    that being said, i am a huge dale carnegie fan - so read on to get some good pointers (won't teach you how to be extroverted, that's innate in my opinion).

    cheers

    Capitalist

  • Vancouver Canucks 2011's picture

    Throughout my childhood, I was painfully shy. I lacked confidence and my upbringing in a strict / suffocating family environment only severely aggravated this issue. I was also poor and didn't have many friends growing up (partially due to my personality and partially due to reasons outside my control). I guess all that isolation and existential loneliness gave me a lot of time to think - I realized that I wasn't very happy and wanted to be everything that I wasn't. Although I didn't have much, I did have a fire in my belly and a lot of determination. At 18, I left home for college and vowed to come back as a different person.

    It is eight years later... I ran into a high school friend awhile back who was shocked how much I changed. We hung out and he was so impressed that I was confident, funny, attractive (surprising how much a lot of muscle and nice clothes / grooming can do) and could chat up hot girls at the bars with ease. To this day, I still don't believe that I am a natural extrovert and see myself as an introvert at heart. I enjoy stealing times here and there for short moments solitude and the beauty that comes with self-reflection. Nonetheless, I am in finance now and have to schmooze and party virtually 24/7. I am a salesman and being smooth / convincing is what keeps us employed. I say this with a certain sense of resignation but also a lot of pride in the new life that I now lead.

    What helped me change completely were:
    -Be successful = I got a great job, a MBA from a top school and a covetted investment banking career. You will be surprised to see what success can do for one's confidence and the perceived value of self. Furthermore, it compels others to see you differently. If others are impressed by you, they value your opinions more and it is a lot easier communicating with them. So work hard at whatever you do!

    -Set specific goals = I used to set these clear and tangible numerical goals for myself and it did wonders. For example, goals I used to set were "I will talk to 5 people no matter what at the event tonight" or "If I see someone interesting, I will approach that person to talk within 3 seconds" or "I will make 25 calls by the end of the day." These goals challenge you to step out of your comfort zone and get better

    -Start on the phone = I used to be awkward speaking to people in person so I practiced a lot over the phone (for my job). I realized that I could be anyone I wanted over the phone. The person on the other side couldn't see me so I experimented with different sides of myself. Sometimes, I tried to be aggressive and sometimes I tried to be nice. I realized after hundreds of calls that I have a knack for humor and made that my personal style

    -Accumulate expertise = If you have nothing to say, try to be interesting by gaining a lot of knowledge and expertise on a specific subject matter. For example, be very well-versed in politics or be very passionate about a certain sport. Thus, if you end up talking about these subjects, you will be surprised to find that you will have more than enough you want to say

    -Be opinionated = Be yourself, have a voice and believe in the merits of your thoughts. I used to always be neutral and never take a stand. I realized that this made me boring and useless as a person in conversations. No matter what the topic or subject manner, be willing to take a stand and defend your opinion

    -Be determined = Realize that success comes with a price. In finance, being vocal, confident and smooth is necessary to getting ahead. Know that you will not get the girl of your dreams without trying. See the beauty in failure and know that the only way you stagnate is that you don't dare to take a step forward

    Good luck!

  • seabird's picture

    I just remembered a video where Buffett addresses this directly.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfuXKpMFUjc

    "...all truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."

    - Schopenhauer

  • In reply to Ambition
    SECfinance's picture

    Ambition:
    Sex, then you will sing

    I JUST HAD SEX (by LONELY ISLAND ft. akon)

    most extrovert thing you will ever do.

    FIFY.

    I'm somewhat interested in this as well. I am an outgoing person, but the feedback I've received in mocks/informationals is that I seem quiet/need to show more energy. I think it may just be because I'm nervous and I hope as I do more interviews I will come across as more energetic and passionate. Any tips?

    MM IB -> Corporate Development

  • aempirei's picture

    Join Toast Masters.

    My name is Nicky, but you can call me Dre.

  • blackrainn's picture

    I think the key is not necessarily to be an "extroverted" person per say, but to be an INTERESTING person. Put down the computer/ipad/iphone/whatever. Unplug and observe. Travel, explore, and observe people. Think about things, read interesting books, explore new hobbies. While you can't change some fundamental things, the brain is surprisingly adaptable to new situations and most "leadership" skills aren't innate. As Vancouver said, be successful in your field and have interesting insights. Be someone who people want to talk to, and listen attentively to others. Often the most "extroverted" people are not the most fun to be around, as they can be brash, uncouth, and annoying. Know when to talk and when to shut up.

    The key problem most "introverts" have is they either spend too much time with themselves or do things that aren't really productive. Don't be an introvert who plays World of Warcraft 10 hours a day, as many introverts give themselves the excuse to do. Be proactive and explore new topics and think deeply. Some of the most interesting people I know are the most reflective and experienced individuals. Test yourself. Exercise hard, go explore new places, and meet new people. If you do that, everything else will come. As a society we often value the loud and visible, but some of the true leaders I know are the ones in the background who aren't noticed everyday. Those are the people working the true magic.

The WSO Advantage - Investment Banking

Financial Modeling Training

IB Templates, M&A, LBO, Valuation + Learn More.

IB Interview Prep Pack

30,000+ sold & REAL questions Learn More.

Resume Help from Actual IB Pros

Land More IB Interviews. Learn More.

Find Your Perfect IB Mentor

Realistic IB Mock Interviews. Learn More.

  • Pike's picture

    troll

    XX

  • GoodBread's picture

    Great post by Vancouver Canucks 2011. I'm a natural introvert but my shyness or lack thereof has changed a lot over the years. I used to talk to everybody until I was about 10 and then decided people would think me more mature if I didn't talk so much. Fast-forward five years and I was talking too little and the pendulum has been swinging ever since.
    The same dynamics have affected my professional life. At an interview 3 years ago, people felt I was too reserved and shy. Last week, an interviewer was saying I was confident and had a lot of personality. Like VT4Ever said, if this starts affecting your career, you'll find a way to push through.

  • N.R.G.'s picture

    Introversion has nothing to do with shyness. An introvert's brain is more sensitive to outside stimuli. That's why introverts avoid activities that overstimulate them and cause them to feel exhausted - e.g. prolonged socializing and talking. If you are talking to someone and you notice that after some time their eyes start to wander as if they are not paying attention, that might be a sign that they are introverted, which has nothing to do with shyness. Shyness is related to self-esteem and fear of embarrassment. Introversion, on the other hand, is a physical characteristic that cannot be changed.

    I've seen introverts that have pushed themselves to be more social, but after some time it shows that it takes its toll on them - they look distracted or they become less responsive. If you are an introvert, I'd suggest just making sure that whatever you engage in, for example socializing, you don't do it to the point of mental exhaustion - keep it short. If you don't feel comfortable in situations involving extensive contact with people, stay away from such jobs. I know of introverts who have worked in sales or other people-related jobs and have become good at them, but at the price at feeling miserable - prolonged interaction felt so energy-draining that they eventually decided to leave and find a job more suitable to their personality.

  • In reply to N.R.G.
    Virginia Tech 4ever's picture

    N.R.G.:
    Introversion has nothing to do with shyness. An introvert's brain is more sensitive to outside stimuli. That's why introverts avoid activities that overstimulate them and cause them to feel exhausted - e.g. prolonged socializing and talking. If you are talking to someone and you notice that after some time their eyes start to wander as if they are not paying attention, that might be a sign that they are introverted, which has nothing to do with shyness. Shyness is related to self-esteem and fear of embarrassment. Introversion, on the other hand, is a physical characteristic that cannot be changed.

    I've seen introverts that have pushed themselves to be more social, but after some time it shows that it takes its toll on them - they look distracted or they become less responsive. If you are an introvert, I'd suggest just making sure that whatever you engage in, for example socializing, you don't do it to the point of mental exhaustion - keep it short. If you don't feel comfortable in situations involving extensive contact with people, stay away from such jobs. I know of introverts who have worked in sales or other people-related jobs and have become good at them, but at the price at feeling miserable - prolonged interaction felt so energy-draining that they eventually decided to leave and find a job more suitable to their personality.

    This

  • In reply to whatwhatwhat
    Flake's picture

    whatwhatwhat:
    alcohol

    You beat me to it.

    Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

  • In reply to AlsatianCousin
    Ambition's picture

    AlsatianCousin:
    Have sex.

    Seriously.

    Hey I said that (-_-* )

    I want a lady on the street, but a freak in the bed,

    Go Bucks!!

  • melvvvar's picture

    have you considered the possibility that this is the wrong fucking industry for you?

    do you also have a problem with mental retardation?

  • Neighbor's picture

    Why's everyone hating on the man? You won't survive if you're too shy or timid in this industry, but there's nothing inherently wrong with being an introvert. There's alot more introverted, shy, try-hard nerds in IBD than you think.

    I didn't say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.

  • In reply to Neighbor
    melvvvar's picture

    tlynch5:
    Why's everyone hating on the man? You won't survive if you're too shy or timid in this industry, but there's nothing inherently wrong with being an introvert. There's alot more introverted, shy, try-hard nerds in IBD than you think.

    they don't last and it's a miserable time for them.

  • Ajoali's picture

    Most of the people who work in finance are type A personalities but that doesn't mean you cant make a place for yourself. I am like you, don't really enjoy going out drinking ( doesn't help that I don't drink) I avoid afterwork pub socials etc etc .... most of the times my conversation end after 5 mins into it. I don't know what to say ...... but despite all this I am a trader in one of the best banks in Europe.

    My advice to you is that work on to be more social ( idont know how, but Vancouver canucks has given great advice) but apart from that be yourself. People will respect that and everyone loves a nice guy. Lastly don't give up on a career in finance jst because someone has told you that you cant make it. Warren buffet is the biggest example out there.

  • meow1465's picture

    meh, I am a bit shy and reserved as well. Don't drink and not a huge fan of the pub scene. Am fine with giving presentations etc, but struggle with the socialising aspect of things. Never managed to get a return offer from several internships that I did due to this personality trait. One staffer mentioned that I might go on to be a VP but might struggle afterwards coz I am not a salesman.

    Anyway, I am now trying to move on as I don't think I would fit in well....

  • Flake's picture

    I'm mad shy but I am adorable so I never had any issues.

    Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

  • UFOinsider's picture

    N.R.G.:
    Introversion has nothing to do with shyness.

    EXACTLY. I'm an introvert and I'm not shy....I just don't consider most people worth talking to, and I have a lot of other things on my mind besiseds prattling on about the weather, the fucking sports game, and OH-M-G it's Monday fucking morning. When I have time and I want to talk to people, there is no problem.
    seabird:
    read How to Win Friends and Influence People.

    YES, when I started bartending, my boss had me read this instead of a drink manual. Surprisingly enough, most of the time you just have to listen. Let people ramble on, key in on the big points, and tune out the rest.

    Extroverts often have their own problems: they don't listen to people, they make everything about themselves, and they tend to not learn from their mistakes. Use this to your advantage. If you're actually shy and not simply introverted: sex, drugs, and rock and roll will break you out of your shell...just, uhm, be moderate.

    Realize that the overwhelming majority of people in power are introverted intellectual types, and not life of the party types. You will, however, need to make your personality work for you, and only you know how to do that. Do not try to be someone else, it won't work.

    Turn the music on, get your drink on, get your freak on, and party on....and make sure you show up to work in the morning.

    Get busy living

  • lambertoscar's picture

    don't worry about it, I've been surprised at how humble and polite many of the ex-Enron traders are (I've met a few of them on the natty/crude side, who were in really senior positions... and now work in different phys shops). The cocky ones, who act like Gekko are tools... the ones who do well and stand the test of time are "humbled by markets" and not always in it to beat it... but to serve it.

    Infact the top ranking energy traders who are MDs and so on, have been sort of socially awkward with minimal emotions and show humility. One of the guys who ran enron's gas trading desk back then, even had signs of tourretes.

    The media, likes to emphasize on the tools of trading. I've not been in the industry too long, but I've been lucky enough to have gone for parties brushing shoulders with biggies.

    The masked avenger par sexellence

  • BullMkt's picture

    Take an acting class, thats what I did.

    The hills are alive with the sound of horsepower! - Jeremy Clarkson

  • Human's picture

    "I am the hero of the story. I don't need to be saved."

  • In reply to BullMkt
    Ambition's picture

    BullMkt:
    Take an acting class, thats what I did.

    This seems like a great idea actually

    I want a lady on the street, but a freak in the bed,

    Go Bucks!!

  • CatDog's picture

    Do you ride public transit to work? Talk to a person next to you about anything. I've met some great people on the train who I stay in touch with.

  • Hfhopeful's picture

    Being Type A does not mean you are extroverted. I consider myself an introvert but it kills me to get an A- in a class. Type A people are just perfectionists who pay attention to detail and like control; it doesn't mean you like to socialize and screw around with coworkers talking bullsh*t.

  • In reply to Hfhopeful
    UFOinsider's picture

    GCABJ:
    Being Type A does not mean you are extroverted. I consider myself an introvert but it kills me to get an A- in a class. Type A people are just perfectionists who pay attention to detail and like control; it doesn't mean you like to socialize and screw around with coworkers talking bullsh*t.

    Really now, tell me more

    Get busy living

  • TonyPerkis's picture

    To unlock this content for free, please login / register below.

    Connecting helps us build a vibrant community. We'll never share your info without your permission. Sign up with email or if you are already a member, login here Bonus: Also get 6 free financial modeling lessons for free ($200+ value) when you register!

    I eat success for breakfast...with skim milk

  • In reply to TonyPerkis
    UFOinsider's picture

    Get busy living

  • In reply to Virginia Tech 4ever
    Ambition's picture

    I want a lady on the street, but a freak in the bed,

    Go Bucks!!

  • In reply to UFOinsider
    TonyPerkis's picture

    I eat success for breakfast...with skim milk

  • In reply to Vancouver Canucks 2011
    UFOinsider's picture

    Get busy living