Tuesday, February 8, 2011

I'm Kind Of A Big Deal (in my mind)

I am quite the talker. Seriously. And I'm obnoxiously loud. I kid you not. But I only get to act like myself when, 1) I know you , 2) I feel comfortable around you, or 3) I've had a few cocktails.

Obviously, this becomes a problem when I'm "networking," because my level of comfort goes to zilch and I become a wallflower. No one knows me, so I'm uncomfortable, and if I'm not drinking, well I become a little shadow. And yet, I throw myself into these situations regardless.

When I read the book Guerilla Networking the author said, you don't need to work hard to meet people. Just become the person people want to meet. Um. Ok. Sounds kinda obvious right? Do something cool or amazing, or present yourself in an interesting way so that people want to learn more about you and don't forget your name. psht. I totally got it. Except that I haven't done that.

I read this book to learn how to network with people in the film industry. I thought that would be something I should train-up for since the field is new to me. When it comes to bloggers, however, I've never felt more comfortable around them. They're my people, hello! And yet, that's a situation where I still cannot open my mouth, say my name loud enough to be heard /remembered or figure out something fetching to say so that they want to meet me. What good are the tools I've learned if I don't use them? If I can't figure out what makes me stand out from the rest, why would they know?

When I encounter people that know me from twitter or my blog, I'm thrilled. You'd think I won a friggin’ Oscar I'm so excited. But when I see people I "know" from online, I don't know how to act, and so I sit there and listen. Listen to what they say, trying to find the connection to where we have something in common. I quietly yearn for the opportunity to speak to them and then let the moment pass me by (like with @NYCityMama I totally wanted to meet her and say hi, so I waved in her direction a few times with an enthsiastic - bordering on crazy - smile without introducing myself. *smacks hand on forehead*).

Maybe I squeek a little and offer someone food or say "I hope you're having a good time", (like I did with @JeannetteKaplun at BlogHer... I totally let her pass my 100 times instead of talking to her and telling her how much I admire her - no worries, we chat on BBM now, but I've got to work on my social skills man...) but that's it. I skulk into the room, and slip right out. It's called fear my friends. And it ain't pretty...especially last night, without a drink in my hand, because of the antibiotics that I'm on.

I don't get it. When I worked on the truth brand campaign, I spoke to strangers one on one, all the time. I was on the microphone engaging groups of people who had no idea who I was, and I loved it. So why is networking so hard? I think I just saw a bunch of known bloggers and I felt very unknown and out of place. I didn't know whether I should be in that room...a fan, among stars. Poor @nycpatty tried her best to introduce me, and get me talking but I was frozen, in my own internal world. I was totally engaged in conversation – but just with my eyes and in my head. I couldn’t figure out what connected me to all these fab bloggers (in retrospect, I say “Duh”).

Last night @glamamomnyc said something that really struck a chord in me which I hope I remember from now on. She basically was saying that as bloggers we've worked hard to develop our own brand. Although we may not think what we do is a big deal, we are experts in social media in our own right because frankly, not a lot of people know what it is or what to do with it.

And I thought to myself, yea man, she's friggin’ right. Hello? I know what I'm doing here. psht. I'm a friggin’ star too! I totally belong here! (I thought this after the fact, on the subway, mind you.)

Not only am I a bilingual Latina, I'm an Actress, a Writer and a Lawyer, who rocks the social media world. I may not be in dooce territory, pero yo me defiendo. And my blog is different. It's an inspirational lifestyle blog colored by my culture (and my snark), as a Puertorriqueña and a New Yorker. Why don’t I ever see this?! Why don't I ever say this?!

I think I have to write that down and read it before I go into any networking situation – just to give myself some comfort when I’m internally freaking out. Because I do have a lot to offer. People do want to meet me. But if I keep telling myself they don't, well... you know how self-fulfilling prophecies go.

Maybe next time I will actually take what I learned from that book and what I realized through  @glamamomnyc's wise words, and open my mouth. Besides, networking shouldn't be so damn intimidating, especially when you're among your peers.

I am an amzaon associate. So if you purchase an item through my amazon links, I get some cha-ching in my wallet, which makes me happy.