Do You Hate Small Talk?

[Image: Nametag that reads I hate this!]

Can you relate to this networking event nametag?

That dread of so-called “small talk” is a classic concern of introverts. It might be the crux of why we are sometimes seen as anti-social.

If we want to find more ease in certain social situations (networking events, holiday parties…), we have to deal with our dread of small talk.

Common worries I’ve heard from introverts:

  • “People think I’m a snob just because I’m not interested in the conversation.”
  • “I’m not shy and I am friendly, but I don’t like small talk about nothing.”

The small talk concern is one of those hot button issues for introverts. I’ve noticed that just saying the phrase “small talk” leads to instant groans and rolling their eyes.

I’m an introvert who used to hate small talk too, so I can smile with recognition when introverts groan about it. But now it feels fine, well, most of the time. And I didn’t change who I am.

I have some easy solutions here for you.

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Why You Get Tongue-Tied About Your Work and What To Do

tongue-tied[I almost titled this post, “Stop Worrying About the Words.” You’ll see why.]

Even if you have some memorized answer to “What do you do?”, you probably still worry about whether you’re using the right words. There’s so much stress over the words related to our work. You’re not alone in that struggle.

I especially notice this struggle when it comes to describing a new business or cause that you’re really excited about. It feels like there’s no possible way to capture all that is in your heart about it. Using only a few words to capture it feels like you’re cheapening it somehow. Sound familiar?

And if you get really tripped up on the words and you’re rethinking it over and over, you might be an introvert. We’re at higher risk of over-thinking our words. That’s me! While it’s also an asset to naturally think things over thoroughly, that can cause trouble too. The worst is when you’re thinking and thinking, then you start feeling more nervous about getting it right, and negative thinking can take over. You know that feeling? Yup.

Think about all these words you have to come up with for a business. The list itself is overwhelming.

  1. Business name
  2. Tag line
  3. Your title
  4. A brief description of what you do (the dreaded “elevator pitch”).
  5. Business card words (It’s so small!)
  6. Words for your website’s Home page (What the heck?!)
  7. Words for your website’s About page (Credentials? Your personal story? Your philosophy? Huh?)
  8. What to say in an introductory video
  9. Your Linkedin profile description
  10. Your email signature
  11. What to say when a reporter interviews you about your work
  12. Your bio for an upcoming presentation
  13. Then there’s the presentation itself!
  14. I’m sure you can think of a few more.

If any of these items on the list cause you to tense up, you’re in good company. Finding the words is one of the hardest parts of having a business. And the same goes for a cause you’re working on, a new career direction you want to pursue, or anything to do with what you do.

OK, now you get the extent of the tongue-tied problem.

Here’s why it’s so hard, and what to do about it. Continue reading

LinkedIn Profile Essentials: Why and How

It’s time for a post about LinkedIn because I’m spending a lot of time explaining it. Even people who have been using it a while are not using it as well as they could be. You’re leaving money on the table if you don’t use it, or if you don’t use it well. It’s not just for stuffy “businessy” people. You’ll find plenty of heart-centered people in there.

And it doesn’t take much time at all! There’s really no down side to having an updated LinkedIn profile. And plenty of up sides.

Below are a few specific reasons why you should spiff up your profile, followed by quick tips on how to make it work best. I’m including links to step-by-step instructions.

Even if you’re sure social media is not for you, at least get a listing in LinkedIn and I’ll let you off the hook on the rest.

My LinkedIn profile

LinkedIn says I’m an all-star. That’s fun to see.

Who am I to advise on this?

I’ve been using LinkedIn longer than most people have even heard of it, and I’ve tinkered around to see what works. I gave gotten business from LinkedIn with very little effort. And I’m in the top 5% of most viewed LinkedIn profiles. I understand social media and I enjoy sharing the shortcuts.

So here’s my checklist for you…

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Are Introverts Better than Extroverts at Online Networking?

I can make a case for why the answer could be Yes.

Discussing Introverts and Extroverts at Podcamp Western Mass 2013

Discussing Introverts and Extroverts at Podcamp Western Mass 2013 (Click to view my photo album on Facebook.)

At the recent Podcamp Western Mass (an unconference about social media), I led a session with this exact same title. I got both introverts and extroverts to give their opinions.

To make it easy for both introverts and extroverts to participate equally, I had folks move to a spot in the room that represented their opinion on questions like “Introverts should become more extroverted.”

Here’s a hint about the discussion outcome. One of the extroverts said something like this at the end: Continue reading

OMG, Networking Is NOT About “Gift of Gab”!

I’ve been noticing something at networking events and I’ve got to comment, at the risk of offending someone.

People who think they are GOOD at networking often are NOT. On the flip side, people who think they are BAD at it, are doing better than they think!!

Please rethink what you’re doing.

This Really Happened to Me.

Recently I was approached at an event by a woman who is clearly excited about her new business. She walked up, started talking, handed me lots of promo material, took my card, and then walked away. I was stunned. I watched her “work” the room like that. Then she called me later asking to meet up. Uh, not sure I want to return that call. Would you?

Maybe I should call her back and offer her a little free advice, or better yet, some marketing coaching. Hmm. Continue reading