Enchantment for Introverts: Seven Tips From Guy Kawasaki, an Introvert Who Has Enchanted Millions of People

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On August 10, 2008, Guy Kawasaki posted a shocking tweet. It read:

“You may find this hard to believe, but I am an introvert. I have a “role” to play, but I am fundamentally a loner.”

Kawasaki was the original evangelist for Apple’s Macintosh computer. He’s a well-known venture capitalist who has been called the “Godfather of Silicon Valley.” He has a perpetually wide smile.

He sure doesn’t seem like an introvert.

As one blogger wrote, “At the time [of Guy’s tweet, his] avatar featured him wearing a pink boa from a large party he threw at his house. Guy Kawasaki an introvert? Does not compute.”

I interviewed Guy about this apparent disconnect, and this is what he told me: “I look upon many of my activities as a role thrust upon me — not “me” per se. It’s like being an actor– you don’t have to be an axe murderer to play an axe murderer. And when the role is over, it’s over.”

Guy does what many productive introverts do: temporarily acts out of character in the service of causes he cares about.  He appears to flout Shakespeare’s popular dictate that to thine own self one must be true.

Except that he doesn’t flout it, not really. What Guy is saying is that there’s a larger truth: that of the causes he cares about. He is a spokesman for those causes, and if this requires putting some thought into the art and science of enchantment, then so be it.

Guy has now written an inspiring book called “Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions.Released today, the book is a crash course on how to be personally and professionally delightful. It’s not aimed specifically at introverts, but, perhaps because of Guy’s true personality, it’s packed with useful information for the quieter half of the population.

Here is Guy talking about enchantment at Stanford University. And here’s a sneak peek at some of my favorite advice from the book:

1.    When you enchant people, your goal is not to make money from them or to get them to do what you want, but to fill them with great delight.

2.    Everyone is  passionate about something. It’s your job to find out what it is. When making conversation with a stranger, good starting points are kids, sports, travel, and food. If the person has no passions, s/he might not be worth enchanting.

3.    Assume people are reasonable, honest, and grateful. Everyone isn’t always reasonable, honest, and grateful, but most people are, and you can live your life in one of two ways: thinking people are bad until proven good or thinking they’re good until proven bad. More people will like you if you believe people are good until proven bad.

4.    People prefer things that are easy to think about. The stocks of companies with easy-to-pronounce names outperform those with hard-to-pronounce names. People even provide more honest answers on questionnaires that are printed in a more legible font.

5.    People who know what they want and can clearly explain their wishes are enchanting. Stating your goals makes you trustworthy, because you’re now transparent. Your agenda is on the table for all to see.

6.    If you want to persuade people, don’t give them information. Tell them stories. “I gave my teenage son an Android phone, and he told me he liked it better than his iPhone” is better than a list of Android phone features.

7.    When preparing a speech, practice your presentation until you’re sick of it. Then practice it more. If you think Steve Jobs gets on stage and wings it, you’re wrong. He spends hours preparing – and he’s Steve Jobs. Imagine how much time the rest of us should practice.

Full disclosure: I don’t know Guy personally, but I do have a connection to him. I sent him a preview copy of my book, and he immediately tweeted to his 300,000+ followers, “Mark my words, this book will be a bestseller.” So obviously I feel pretty grateful to him.

But it was what he did next, BEHIND THE SCENES, WHEN NO ONE WAS LOOKING, that was truly enchanting. When I wrote to thank him, he replied right away. This is a man gets who gets hundreds, maybe thousands, of e-mails a day. Most people in his position would have ignored my note, or sent a quick “You’re welcome.” But Guy was warm and friendly and spent time giving me — a total stranger – advice on how to position my book.

He was, in short, a mensch (Yiddish word for a stand-up guy who you would want to do business with, or wish would marry your daughter, or both.) There is nothing more enchanting than menschiness. So it’s not surprising that Enchantment offers advice on how to be a mensch, and on why it matters so much to achieve this higher state of being.

But you need to read the book to find out what it is!

How about you? What do you think is the secret to enchantment? Do you find Guy’s insights helpful?


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8 Comments

  1. Timaree (freebird) on 08.03.2011 at 10:56 (Reply)

    I like what I’ve read here. I’ll go check out the book and perhaps put it on my wishlist.

  2. Timaree (freebird) on 08.03.2011 at 10:58 (Reply)

    I just went and checked and he also did the smart thing for today – it’s available in a Kindle version.

  3. Joe BW Smith on 08.03.2011 at 12:28 (Reply)

    Once again, you have given new insights to my life as an introvert. What’s interesting about Kawasaki to me is the closure he is able to give his roles. As one who prefers INFP, part of my growth has been to recognize the ending of a role or part, celebrate what was, and re-energizing for the next role. It took me years of adult life to embrace the closure parts of my existence. I’m getting the hang of it. I just left a role on Sunday as an interim pastor of a congregation, and we said thank you and goodbye to one another with great “delight.” This post was great timing for me. Thank you.

    1. Susan Cain on 08.03.2011 at 22:18 (Reply)

      I’m really glad it resonated for you. I wonder if Guy K. is a “TJ” type, as so many in tech are. Would explain his penchant for closure.

  4. Jen Robinson on 08.03.2011 at 19:53 (Reply)

    Thanks for an interesting post. You convinced me to order Guy’s book. I also liked your disclosure about your interaction with Guy, both what it says about him, and your transparency about where you’re coming from with this post.

    1. Susan Cain on 08.03.2011 at 22:16 (Reply)

      Thx Jen!

  5. Barbara on 09.03.2011 at 13:31 (Reply)

    I love this post because it gives me advice I can readily apply to my own life. Guy Kawsaki sounds like a remarkable person. And thank you, Susan, for this blog. An author whose name I can’t remember talked about seeking her “tribe.” This blog for introverts makes me feel I’ve found my tribe.

  6. Denton on 30.06.2011 at 06:47 (Reply)

    I read this list and my reaction is disgust. This is a list of tips for engaging in disingenuous schmoozing.

    1. What is his goal in wanting people to feel enchanted or delighted? Is it to make them think you are their friend when you really aren’t?
    2. You either are genuinely interested in what a person says, or you aren’t. If you aren’t, then you shouldn’t pretend to be just to get someone to like you.
    3. He’s telling people to adopt a viewpoint which will maximize popularity. I would say adopt the viewpoint that you genuinely believe.
    4. He’s basically saying people are idiots. By treating them as idiots, they are easier to manipulate. This may work, but it certainly isn’t commendable.
    5. He says, “People who know what they want and can clearly explain their wishes are enchanting.” What if a person can clearly express their wish to pillage the planet and control the masses? Is that enchanting? Or is he saying that people should give the illusion of being trustworthy and transparent by stating some fake and seemingly benevolent goal?
    6. This is another variation of the people are dumb and must treated as such tip. An intelligent person realizes that a single anecdote is meaningless. Maybe the kid who likes the Android phone also likes to eat paste.
    7. Finally, a tip with which I can agree. If you’re going to give a speech, practice.

    This list seems like the abbreviated PC version of Robert Greene’s The 48 Laws of Power.

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