What is your book about?
As the title suggests, the book provides strategies for shy people to become better networkers. Business is conducted face-face, belly-to-belly. Many shy business professionals find live networking to be a painful experience, myself included. The extraverts of the business world would have you believe that all you have to do to be successful in networking is to do as they do. Unfortunately, they are misguided. I’ve developed a system that works for me and it will for other shy networkers if they follow it.
What inspired you to write your book?
I’ve always been shy. For the first part of my life, I was also terrified of speaking in public. Twenty-five years ago, I joined Toastmasters. I’m quite comfortable now delivering seminars, workshops, webinars and presentations. I learned how to do so in Toastmasters by repeatedly challenging myself, raising the bar incrementally with every speaking opportunity. In 2007 I was elected as the District Governor for District 21 Toastmasters, at the time … the entire province of B.C. Canada. I lead a leadership team of some 1900 volunteer leaders. While I could speak in public and I had developed advanced servant leadership skills, I was still hindered by being socially shy.
I’ve been entrepreneurial most of my adult life. I have had many of what I call ‘potential sources of income’. They never really took off. The main obstacle being my inability to get out in public and promote myself. Shy people don’t do that. And I didn’t either!
So, I decided to do something about it. In researching the subject of networking, I found that there was very little original thinking. Each article seemed to be based on other articles. The bias was towards emulating the extraverted networkers. I started writing networking strategy articles on different aspects of networking from a shy business person’s perspective.
The articles developed into a collection. The collection formed the basis of developing strategies. The strategies turned into a book.
Can you describe your writing process? How did you get your book written and how long did it take?
I have written and self-published five books, with two underway in various stages of development.
I always start off with brainstorming ideas and mind-mapping to create my structure. I’m currently using Scapple to help me organize my thoughts and develop topic chapters. The ideas from Scapple get inserted into Scrivener. I write my content in Microsoft Word and paste it into Scrivener for organization. When I research, I create what I call ‘dump’ files in MS Word, where I collect everything on the net related to the subject. I then glean the content for information worth sharing. I believe my skill is in recognizing sage advice and/or best practices and repackaging it for a different demographic.
Once I started writing the book, I believe it took me four months or so to complete. I tend to have a lot of free time, at times, as well as being somewhat compulsive to complete projects I have on the go at the time.
What was your publishing process like? How did you publish your book and how long did it take?
I’ve only published in an e-book format. My experience with e-Bookit! was painless and only took a week or two for my books being on-line for sale.
How do you hope your book impacts the world?
I don’t have any grandiose ideation that any of my books impact the world as a whole. However, I do believe that each of us creates our own reality. I have sold my books, albeit in smaller numbers than I would like, around the world. I believe that if a reader applies some or all of the strategies provided in my books, their reality, their view of the world, will in turn improve their lives. My professional life is as a Registered Nurse working in mental health. I see my role as a catalyst in helping others live more effectively or self-actualize. That is being the best that they can be and helping them overcome obstacles that many of us also share.
Please tell us a bit about you and how you decided to write your book. Is it part of a personal goal, business goal, nonprofit or other mission?
I spent my childhood and good part of my adulthood being controlled by my inhibitions. Self-esteem, self-confidence and self-worth were in short supply. I did a lot of personal growth development in the areas of assertiveness training, conflict resolution, crisis intervention and systems thinking, to name a few. I discovered that acting as a servant leader can help build your self-confidence and your personal power.
I’m a curious person and like to know the ‘why’ of why things or processes are the way they are. Once a subject resonates with me, I tend to get immersed in it. I benefit from my research as much as my readers, if not more.
I’ve delivered hundreds of speeches as a member of Toastmasters International. Many of these speeches involved researching topics in order to share the knowledge with my fellow club members. As I benefited from my research and speaking opportunities, my fellow club members benefitted from my sharing.
I don’t believe that I have an altruistic reason behind my writings. I believe if a topic is worthwhile researching and learning more about, then it is worthwhile sharing. I would like to be compensated financially for my time though. Several of my books and writings have opened up speaking opportunities such as seminars, workshops and presentations. Most have been pro bono, but there has been some revenue.
What do you most enjoy about what you do?
I enjoy the creative process of writing. Sometimes, it drives me crazy! It can be challenging to find creative and effective words to convey an idea that others have already said in different ways. How can I make it my own?
I also enjoy hearing how my content has improved people’s lives, even if it is in a small way.
Are there any people and/or books that have inspired you along your journey?
I was an early reader. I read James Michener’s Hawaii, when I was in Grade Four. I was reading adult-themed books at an early age. I found English & literature classes rather boring throughout my formal education.
At fourteen years of age in 1968 I was confirmed in the Anglican church. The same year, Erich von Daniken released Chariots of the Gods. Reading that book changed my view of organized religion and resulted in me becoming an atheist.
A few years later, I learned that von Daniken’s theories were flawed. He had taken many leaps in faith and logic, not necessarily backed up with real facts to create his theories. This turn of events helped me to evolve into a pragmatic, practical and critical thinker. I believe those attributes are reflected in my writing. I consider myself spiritual rather than religious.
I’ve also been inspired by the likes of Brian Tracy, Anthony Robbins, Sig Sigler and Jim Rohn. I learned about the concept of CANEI from them. [Constant and Never-Ending Improvement] I have applied CANEI on an ongoing basis to my creative projects and my professional life.
Power Networking for Shy People: Tips & Techniques for Moving from Shy to Sly! Was the second book that I wrote, but the first I have published.
I will be revisiting the topic of power networking for shy people and those that aren’t so shy in the near future and introducing some new products.
In the meantime, if you are looking for a speaker or trainer for your organization or staff development event, I can probably help.
Here are a few seminars that may be of interest to you:
The Business Networking Series: Stand-Alone Seminars/Workshops (duration to be determined based on the needs of the client)
Business Networking 101: The Basics of Networking
Power Networking: Tips & Techniques to Becoming a Power Networker
How High Does Your Elevator Go? How to Create an Elevator Pitch that Opens Doors!
Blow Your Own Horn! Personal Branding for Business Professionals
Referral Marketing Works!
Speaking to Sell
What Comes After the Elevator Pitch?
Tagline Tango: Developing Business Slogans & Taglines That Work
Until next time … onwords and upwords!