Warren Buffett, the unassuming billionaire businessman known for his frugality and investing prowess, is not just an idol for investors but also has wisdom for introverts.
Despite being a prominent figure in the global financial industry, Buffett has consistently displayed a demeanor that resonates more with quiet reflection than extroverted flamboyance. He is known for his long hours spent reading and analyzing, a far cry from the stereotypical image of an extroverted Wall Street tycoon. Buffett’s success story embodies introverted power that tells us it’s not always the loudest voice that holds the most wisdom; the quiet, thoughtful observer often sees the most.
In this post, I will share Warren Buffett’s advice for introverts, sharing valuable insights for navigating introverts’ many challenges.
Here is a question for Warren Buffett, where he gave direct advice to introverts.
“I’m Nancy Ankowitz. I’m from New York City, and I teach at New York University. Mr. Buffett, I’d love to get your advice on something that’s a little off the investing path, but that taps into your business experience and wisdom. I’m writing a book to help people of a more introverted nature get the recognition they deserve. What advice would you give to the quieter half of the population to help them raise their visibility in their careers?”
Buffett replied, “Well that’s a very good question, and I sort of faced that at one time. I was absolutely throughout high school and college terrified of public speaking, and I would have avoided any classes signing up form that would require it. I would get physically ill if I even thought about having to do it and let alone doing it, and I took a day well I’ve first of all, I signed up.”
Buffett explained, “I went down to Dale Carnegie, of course, when I was at Columbia and signed up for and gave him a check for a hundred dollars, went back to my room and stopped payment on the check. Yeah, this is a real man of courage you’re looking at up here, and I came out to Omaha, and I saw a similar ad I was at the Rome hotel for a few Old-Timers in Omaha on 16th Street, and I went down there, and this time I took 100 dollars in cash and gave it to Wally Keenan, who some of you may know, he dies some years ago. The first time I’d met him, and I took that course, and when I finished that course I went right out of the University of Omaha, and volunteered to start teaching, knowing that I had to get up in front of people.”
Buffett continued, “I think the ability to communicate both in writing and orally is of enormous importance under-taught. Most graduate business schools they wouldn’t find an instructor to do it because it would sort of be beneath them to do something so supposedly simple, but if you can communicate well you have an enormous advantage, and to you who are talking to these the group of introverted people and believe me I was in certain ways quite introverted, you know it’s important to get out there and do it while you’re young if you wait until you’re 50 it’s probably too late, if you do it while you’re young just force yourself into situations where you have to develop those abilities and I think the best way to do that is to get in with a whole bunch of other people who are having equal problems because then you find you’re not alone and you don’t feel quite as silly and of course that’s what they did at the Dale Carnegie course I mean we would get up in front of 30 other people who could hardly give their own name and after a while we find out we could actually pronounce our own name in front of a group and but we would stand on tables and do all kinds of silly things just to get outside of ourselves, and you may have thought it by this point you might think it went too far in my particular case, but that’s another problem.”
Buffett concluded by saying, “If you’re doing something very worthwhile, if you’re helping introverted people get outside of themselves and working with them in groups where they see other people have the same problem and they don’t feel quite as silly themselves, I think you’re doing a lot for some human beings when you help them do that Charlie.”
Charlie Munger replied, “Yeah, it’s a real pleasure to have an educator come who is working to do something simple and important instead of something foolish and unimportant.
Buffett jokingly added, “I hope he’s not going to name names.” 
- Confront Your Fears: Buffett was initially terrified of public speaking, to the point of physical illness. However, he recognized this fear and took deliberate steps to overcome it. This story underscores the importance of facing one’s fears head-on.
- Take the initiative: Instead of waiting for his fear of public speaking to disappear, Buffett proactively signed up for a Dale Carnegie course. He even started teaching at the University of Omaha after the course, forcing himself into situations that required him to communicate with others.
- Communication Skills Are Essential: Buffett emphasizes the importance of good communication skills, both written and oral. He believes these skills are often undervalued and under-taught, especially in business schools. According to him, good communication provides an enormous advantage.
- Start Early: Buffett advises one to start honing their communication skills early. Waiting until later in life makes it harder to change ingrained behavior patterns.
- Group Learning Can Be Beneficial: The billionaire investor highlights the benefits of learning in a group setting. When you’re among others who share the same struggles, it reduces the fear of embarrassment and helps you realize you’re not alone in your journey.
- Helping Others Is Worthwhile: Buffett commends the work of educators who help introverted people break out of their shells. He believes that helping others overcome their fears and develop their communication skills is a very worthwhile endeavor.
While rooted in his personal experience, Warren Buffett’s advice carries universal resonance. His journey from being an introverted individual afraid of public speaking to a billionaire investor who regularly addresses large audiences teaches us the power of stepping out of our comfort zones.
Buffett’s emphasis on early, proactive action and good communication skills are invaluable lessons for introverts and everyone. His story reminds us that our fears and limitations are surmountable and that in helping others overcome their challenges, we contribute to a better, more understanding world. Don’t let introversion define what you can and cannot do—embrace it, work with it, and see how far you can go.