Day 03 – Attend a networking event (or networking with someone)
Okay, first off, I’m not shy (anymore). But, when I was a kid…. Yeah. I was a black kid growing up at the height of Family Matters. So, yeah, I heard every Steve Urkel joke you could imagine.. I was tall, and quiet, and wore these insanely large glasses, and… I had a horrible speech impediment. Therefore, I didn’t really socialize much. That, and, by my own estimation, I was pretty weird. I mean, how many 10-year old kids you know that carry around an Attaché? Despite those facts, I was blessed with parents who never made me feel weird, and a set of friends who simply accepted me as someone who was kinda different. Having both allowed me to grow into someone who was completely at ease as a man.. I didn’t need to try to be cool by anyone else’s standards, I was just me, and people liked that. Eventually, I grew out of my awkwardness, and really felt at ease with talking to people.. But, as I’ve found, the difficult part of networking isn’t the talking with people; I can talk to anyone. I love talking with people. The most difficult part of Networking, for me, is introducing myself to people.
I’ve always been introduced to people… I’ve never had to actually step out there and present myself.
When I was a teenager, I would go out with my good friend and youth minister, CG, and, everywhere we’d go, it would always be, “Hey, this is Don.” My sister introduced me to her boss at work and I was offered a job on the spot at 17. When I graduated from High school and was ready for my first “Grownup” job, my dad knew someone and secured a meeting for me.. She offered me the job and I stayed there for 3 years. When I realized it was time to do something with my life, and decided to move to Ft. Myers, My sister took me around and introduced me to everyone she knew, and they became who I knew; and, in 7 years of living on the west coast of Florida, I didn’t attempt to meet anyone outside of the circle of people I was introduced to on my first week there.
Introductions are interesting…
There’s something about not knowing how the person will react to me simply walking up and saying, “Hi, i’m Don”, and I don’t like the possibility that I might get brushed off. So, for the most part, I tend to run with people who are overly extroverted, and let them do the heavy lifting.
The irony in all of this is that my work background is Communications. I help clients get my message out there; and, yet, my own message remains silent because I tend to wait for people to either approach me, or someone to provide me with an introduction. Now, to be sure, I’m not shy… I am very much a social person. I just like the security of doing things on my own terms.. Don’t believe me? Check out my lifestream. I’m all over the net. I just don’t like jumping into conversations.. I’d much rather be asked to join.
So, day three of the blogging challenge is not one I’m very fond of.. But, in the name of change, I’m going to actually go out and drum up a good conversation somewhere. We’ll See.