Susan Cain’s book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, has been a US bestseller since it was published.
It has featured on the cover of Time and whether you are extrovert or introvert ( nearly one half of us) it should be read. For the student of pitching there are many insights but two stand out. Ever since the ‘cult of character’ in the nineteenth century (Abraham Lincoln and the like) was replaced by the ‘cult of personality’ (How to Win Friends …..) emphasis has been on the extrovert, the ‘saleman’ .
In casting a pitch team it is not surprising that extroverts tend to be selected first, after all a pitch is a sell. However the ‘sell’ is usually more about a team and their attitude than it is about a specific product or solution. The balance of the team is all important. A crowd of extroverts or a contemplation of introverts would be equally unappealing. “‘The most effective teams are a mix of the two types”.
When it comes to leadership quiet passion can be as persuasive as exuberant enthusiasm. And if you want to see how well an introvert can present check out Susan Cain’s brilliant talk TED2012: Susan Cain: The power of introverts
Also relevant to the pitch, or rather its preparation, is her plea to “stop the madness for constant group work”. She does not argue against teams working together. She does make a powerful case that the best ideas are not the result of “group think”, something pitch teams overly rely on. The best ideas tend to come from individuals- often the introvert- “working in solitude, a crucial ingredient of creativity.”