By Lisa Major
Conducting small talk is something all brand ambassadors have to do as part of their job, but it’s something introverts dread. Unfamiliar situations with a lot of strangers can be extremely overwhelming. Often times, introverts miss out on job opportunities because of their intense aversion to certain situations. The thought of being a brand ambassador for experiential marketing events may seem like an introvert’s worst nightmare.
I am a textbook introvert who has successfully worked hundreds of events as a brand ambassador and even transitioned into a tour manager role, managing upwards of 25 people onsite at one time.
When planted in a lively setting I have not, by any stretch, overcome my inner turmoil. Yet understanding my introversion has allowed me to carve out a nice career in experiential marketing.
What exactly is an introvert?
Introversion is the state of being predominantly interested in one’s own mental self. Introverts are typically perceived as more reserved or reflective. Some popular psychologists have characterized introverts as people whose energy tends to expand through reflection and dwindle during interaction. (source: Wikipedia)
The very nature of being a brand ambassador at an experiential event requires that you push heartily against introversion. But remember, that is what will open doors to some really great job opportunities.
I promise that it is possible to break into and maintain a successful career in the brand ambassador biz without dissolving into the corner in a pile of tears and stress. I am living proof! Here are a few things that have helped me along the way.
1 – Start small – if you are new to the game it’s best to register with all event staffing agencies so you can peruse as many jobs as possible. Pick a smaller event to start, something that is more one-on-one with a shorter shift. As you book more work, branch out to more challenging job situations.
2 – Use your skills – if you have a special skill, focus on jobs that allow you to use it. This will help you get into the zone immediately without becoming overwhelmed. For example: Are you good with a camera? Take a gig that includes a photo opp element.
3 – Tap into your curiosity – introverts tend to overthink things. Allow your thought process to focus on the brand you are representing and how it will appeal to people. This is a fantastic skill to have when promoting products.
4 – Understand the art of small talk – having a better understanding of human psychology and how we interact is a great tool to help you feel comfortable in a lively setting. Hit up Google and find endless resources on this subject.
5 – Practice, practice, practice – keep your starter/safe zone job list to a maximum of 5. The only way to consistently book brand ambassador work is to take as many jobs as you can. This means taking on gigs that aren’t ideal for your introvert tendencies.
6 – Recharge – if there is a scheduled work break, take advantage of it by planning ahead of time to find a quiet space away from the hectic event site. It can be in your car, the bathroom, or a secluded outdoor area.
7 – Do the math – did you have a bad encounter with a consumer onsite? Did you feel embarrassed, overwhelmed, and wanted to run away screaming and never return? We all feel this way at times. The most important thing to do is add up all parts of the equation. Good interactions, friendly people and the camaraderie you have with your team add up. Nothing in life is perfect; focusing on the not so terrible stuff will help you keep your head in the game.
8- Accept, do it with the fear and put on a good face – instead of trying to force yourself to be something you aren’t, embrace the positives of being an introvert. Just because you don’t always feel like a great brand ambassador doesn’t mean you aren’t one. Smiling and presenting yourself as an outgoing, warm, and confident person can help quiet your inner thoughts and land you more work than you ever thought possible. Being a brand ambassador is a challenging job for introverts but is one that offers personal and professional growth.