Embarrassing to admit but I rarely opening engage in meeting new people. I am lucky that I am approached by many to meet them and once engaged, I do rather well in keeping a conversation. However, after an hour of "working the room," I am exhausted and looking towards the exits without saying goodbye. I am great to attend events as I try not to be anti-social but I do admit to be the first to leave more often than not. I have tried to modify the behavior but it is often repeated.
I had never understood these aspects until I ran into a great author years ago named Susan Cain who writes articles, books and creates content around the importance of Introverts. It was something that made me understand the way I act and instead of trying to avoid it, I embraced it and acted accordingly. I also believe that my introvertedness has helped my career as I have been known to be the problem solver as I remain calm in the eye of the storm. Instead of pushing for ideas, I analyze the situation by listening carefully before stating my opinion. In doing so, I have been able to create solutions that cater to all those involved while maintaining accountability for the decisions.
Knowing my limitations has helped me get past many fears of making a call or speaking with someone I do not know. I have taken some good advice from these discussions when it pertains to networking. First, planning ahead is key as I often have my business cards available and a short opener to explain who I am. I am pretty good at ready people and can tell if I boring someone or not which allows me to move on pretty quickly most of the time. Second, I try to start small and be curious as I find that people often rather be asked questions than come up with something to talk about. Third, I focus on my strengths and am comfortable with that as talking points in any discussion. That often means I listen more than I talk and some people like that. Lastly, the follow up becomes relatively important as many often forget the people they meet fairly quickly. I try to linked in with them after the event and often take what I have learned from listening to share news and articles that they would appreciate.
One thing I have realized is that my journey here on Steem has helped me with this approach as well. In the past, my greatest fear would be rejection and humiliation for trying to engage with people. My time here on Steem has allowed me to realize that while there will always be trolls, most people are good with engaging and building a network. While I realize I am not the most social person, I do have a great respect for community building and helping other leverage their skills for their own benefit which is why I think Steem is a great place to facilitate this over time.
Steem has allowed me to really be on both ends of the spectrum as I often find myself in my comfort zone of being observant and perceptive while reading posts throughout the ecosystem and even seeing the Discords of some of my favorite communities. While I may not actively participate, I take those conversations in mind when I take a walk on the wild side every day to share a post or engage on the protocol. I never thought I would write the hundreds of posts I have here or engage with comments and replies like I have which is why I continue to say that Steem is not only a means to an end but it is the journey that creates the value for us as we learn and engage with the community.
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