[eff around] killing nervousness in conversation
Read on Substack
July 2, 2023
I got another question from you, my readers, after publishing this article: Thanks for engaging (and keep ‘em comin’!). Being of service is a crazy dopamine rush. Below is the question from Dr. Albert Young, physical therapist and whom I get massive motivation to exercise both my body and my brain (he’s got a YouTube channel to subscribe to, here ). We can go many different ways with this question; and there is probably research on what works and what doesn’t. But let me stay focused and actionable on what works for me. accept that you may never overcome initial nervousness. The operative word here is “initial”. I always get some level of panic attack before I talk to anyone, or when I get introduced. I worry about how I look and sound. The potential awkwardness. Whether I’m going to forget their name. But I’m reminded that: “Those who worry suffer twice” (I learned that from Newt Scamander, from JK Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts lol!); The other person is most likely nervous, as well; and I might never meet this person again, if I don’t choose to. The risks and consequences are minimized. Take comfort that we all freak out. And if some people don’t, they’re either narcissists or anomalies. call it out, and it loses power. There have been moments when I’m at a networking event, and I have no idea what to say. In that moment, I usually say: “You know what? I don’t know anybody here, and I’m nervous. Are you?” 99.99% of the time, they respond with: “Me too, OMG!” and the awkwardness dissipates, and I can get into a conversation. “I know how you feel. I used to be that way, too…” as they proceed to tell a story, or ask me questions that get me off of my fears. Instead of letting the other person (or my horrible self-talk) say: “You’re nervous, aren’t you?” I don’t give them that power. I do it myself, and the fear was either unfounded, not so bad, or it was a bit weird but I’m no longer paralyzed. don’t put yourself in those situations. “no” means “no”. Nowadays, I'm busy with family, my parents, embracing my introvertedness, and my companies. So it’s easier to decline events. I make peace with saying “no” and not showing up. I’m sorry to all of my friends who ask me to dinner, coffee, and golf. Please know that I have limited amounts of energy as an introvert, and I must pick and choose my battles. doing a little bit of legwork. If I have to go to an event, I either: Go with a friend, so that the dynamic conversation is a little easier. But make sure you go with the intention of meeting new people or the people you set out to meet, though! Ask the event coordinator if I can help during the event - either set-up, serving food, checking folks in, etc. Go early, before people get clicky and too comfortable in their already-formed groups. Research ahead of time who’s coming, so that I can connect with them early, and ask to meet up. If I can’t do any of these things, I just don’t go, or don’t stay long. become the speaker. This is a weird one, so hear me out. I usually ask if I could speak at events. Why? Because: I’m in content-creation mode right now, and want every opportunity to record stuff and share value, at scale. And It automatically creates conversations. An example would be the last two speaking/networking events I did for Kei Concepts Media . Viet , the owner and co-founder of some of the best fine dining restaurants in SoCal (and on Earth!), has been hosting events to give back to the community in a TED Talk-like format. I wanted to attend…but I didn’t want to socialize naked lol…so I asked if I could moderate a speaking event. Viet agreed, and I ended up doing this event. KEI Concepts KEI Concepts on Instagram: “Esteemed beauty pioneer and digital entrepreneur Michelle Phan, founder of EM Cosmetics and a lifestyle creator with a global community of 9 million subscribers, shares the stage with Kei Concepts’ very own Co-CEO Ivy Ha. Join two female trailblazers as they discuss their stories, current projects, long-term goals, the power (and pressure) of being a female founder/leader, and much more. Tickets are ON SALE NOW with more details available via the link in our bio! Date and time Fri, February 24, 2023, 9:30 AM – 1:00 PM PST Location Saigon Grand Center 16149 Brookhurst Street Fountain Valley, CA 92708 *FOOD, REFRESHMENTS, & MORE!” February 26, 2023 Even though I wasn’t a speaker, a line of people approached me and asked me about things I said while moderating - about entrepreneurship, franchising, and restaurants. Kei Media Kei Media on Instagram: “Thank you to everyone who joined us on February 24th for ‘Like A Boss’ presented by @keiconceptsmedia ! 🙌🏽 We were honored to host two influential AAPI women leaders - Michelle Phan, beauty pioneer, and Ivy Ha, CEO of Kei Concepts - for an inspiring and informative discussion on entrepreneurship, leadership, and community. 💡✨ We were thrilled to see so many of you engaged and taking away valuable insights from this experience. Your presence helped create an atmosphere of learning, inspiration, and connection. 🤝 We hope the lessons you gained during the event will continue to motivate and guide you towards success. Thank you again for joining us! 🎉 #LikeABoss #KEIMedia #AAPIWomenLeaders ” May 19, 2023 I didn’t have to look for people, and I didn’t have to come up with topics. It was beautiful lol! I wanted to moderate the next event, but Viet said I should be a speaker; and the same thing happened. KEI Concepts KEI Concepts on Instagram: ”🚀 Get ready for a feast of knowledge at Breaking Bread 2023! 🍞 We’re serving up a full course of inspiration, innovation, and collaboration with our speakers - Viet Nguyen, Andy Nguyen, Paul Tran, and our moderator, Ben Chung. Expect engaging discussions, an open Q&A session, and a networking lunch buffet 🍽️ all focused on the future of food technology. Save the date for May 26 at the Saigon Grand Center. Register now via the link in our bio and not only will you be part of this immersive experience, but you’ll also receive a $20 Kei Concepts voucher upon entry. See you there as we break bread and set the stage for a new era in food technology and collaboration! 👋 #FoodTech #Networking #Collaboration ” May 24, 2023 Again, socializing was built-in! Kei Media Kei Media on Instagram: “And just like that, Breaking Bread 2023 is a wrap! 🙌 We’ve come together, we’ve learned, and most importantly, we’ve experienced the powerful resonance of collaboration. 🤝 This event truly embodied its name - breaking bread not just as an act of eating, but as a testament to the invaluable act of sharing knowledge and forging connections. Every speaker, every attendee, each one of you brought something unique to our table. It’s through this vibrant mix of perspectives that we pave the way forward in food technology. So here’s to the power of collaboration, to the significance of breaking bread, and to the promising future we’re building together. Stay tuned for more, and until then, keep the spirit of #BreakingBread2023 alive! #FoodTech #Collaboration ” May 31, 2023 This is what I texted a friend who is also a reader of the newsletter, and shared their fears with socializing. I hope this encourages you, gives you some tools, and another way to approach socializing. We are all meant to connect; but there isn’t a one-size-fits-all strategy. You need to know yourself; You need to observe what comes naturally to you; Don’t beat yourself up so hard; Know that most fears never actually happen Be okay with saying no; and Remember that you have something to offer. What are your best networking/socializing tips? I’d love to compile them and share them, if there are a lot! We are better together (but separately, in private, in our own spots lol!) Thanks for reading Eff Around & Find Out! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.