The Happy Manifesto

Building workplaces for long-term success, with Howard Yu

Before chasing the latest technologies or trends, organisations need to focus on building a strong foundation and core capabilities. They need a culture that encourages learning, collaboration, and transparency, and to have leadership that prioritises long-term success over short-term gains.

In this episode, Henry is joined by Howard Yu, a renowned strategist and innovation expert, a Thinkers 50 strategy award winner, and the Lego Professor of Innovation and Management at the IMD business school in Switzerland. With extensive experience studying and analysing companies’ longevity and their ability to sustain new growth, Howard is now the author of Leap, a book exploring how successful companies have been able to transform themselves and adapt to new challenges.

Howard’s three tips for a happy workplace

  1. Document and share as much as possible, providing access for all employees so they can understand the decisions the company is making.
  2. Create a data-rich work environment where openly discussing and documenting failed experiments is encouraged. Capture realtime decision-making processes so everyone can learn from their mistakes.
  3. Allow independent teams to operate as micro-enterprises, or adopt Jeff Bezos’ “two pizza” rule.

Links

Transcript
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Networking is a piece of cake.

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If you're an extrovert, right?

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Maybe not what it's easy enough to work the room, are you coming

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away having made any lasting connections, or were you just really

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fun to be around for that day?

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Welcome to morning creative.

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I am Mark Steadman and I told you a couple of days ago about my friend who

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didn't like being put into a box and he asked if he could be taken away from

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the training sessions so that he didn't have to have his personality tested.

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He, he's one of my best friends and I've known him for about 15 years and

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I did not like him when we first met.

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He knows this.

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He's heard the story plenty of times, but it's absolutely true.

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I found him brash.

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Uh, overbearing, um, maybe a little bit full of himself.

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And while that is what I sort of felt at the time after our first

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couple of meetings, what lay under the surface turns out was someone

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who's really kind and loyal and thoughtful and incredibly perceptive.

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He's someone who It's charged up by meeting people.

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He likes being around people, he likes being around lots of people.

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And while I enjoy my solitude and I can retreat into it, I also

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definitely love meeting new people and I do get those real moments.

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Like I kind of think, I don't know if this is a thing, but I'm

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going to say that I, you know, I am a contextual extrovert.

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Like, get me in my safe zone, get me in a place where I feel

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safe and secure, and I will be the life and soul of the party.

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Like I will get to the point where people are like, alright,

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Mark, tone it down, you know?

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Versus being in an unfamiliar environment or being, you know, with

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lots and lots of strangers, then I, you know, I tend to, to change,

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but you know, whether it's lowering those inhibitions through alcohol

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or just feeling like, you know what?

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Actually, this is a safe space, I can, I can really let the dogs out.

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Uh, so I kind of think I do, I don't know if I'm an ambivert,

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but I think they're definitely con, uh, contextual moments where

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I can be that you know, that guy.

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And that can maybe be a little bit much.

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And so today I've got some tips for extroverts or for when you

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are in that zone where you kind of feel like actually, you know what?

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I am going to be the life and soul of the party.

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It's going to help you get the most out of those experiences

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when you're meeting new people in a kind of networking scenario.

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And I didn't really touch on this yesterday, but when we're talking about

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networking, we're not necessarily all at all talking about like business

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networking chamber of commerce.

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That kind of stuff, business cards, you know, we really are just talking

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meetups you know, at the end of a gig or at the end of a conference

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or a talk or something like that.

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We've got the opportunity then to meet new people who are of a like

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mind that's really, that's all it is.

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It's that's networking.

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Now, as I said up top, we might think that networking

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is easier for extroverts.

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And in some ways, I think the practical stuff is.

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Extroverts tend to be better at being in groups, at holding conversations,

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and doing all the small talk stuff.

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But while you might enjoy the event and meeting the people and all the buzzing

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and the lights and all that stuff, are you getting the most out of that event?

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And let's be real, let's put the tiger on the table and yell at

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it, is everyone enjoying you?

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How have you created, like real connections with people, or have you

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just been the life of the party and someone who's really fun in small doses?

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So here are my 10, we, you know, we did 10 yesterday, uh, networking for

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introverts here is my attempt at 10 tips for networking when you are an

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extrovert or you are in extrovert mode.

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So number one is active listening.

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This is as a podcaster, this is something I actually, uh, discourage

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when it comes to the verbal cues, but there's, in, in moderation, verbal

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active listening cues, you know, the whole hmm, yeah, that's interesting.

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In tiny amounts, they can be useful.

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But also when we're talking about nodding and, uh, using eye contact and

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just showing that you're listening.

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Because it doesn't always need to be your turn to speak.

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Uh, and again, like I say this as someone who identifies with

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a lot of this stuff, right?

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I'm not just, uh, ragging on extroverts.

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It doesn't always need to be your turn.

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Um, sometimes you can just listen and you can still show that you're there.

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You can still show that you're on and that you're engaged by literally

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just showing that you're interested.

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Demonstrating using eye contact and making sure that you're looking at them.

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Nodding, you know, asking followup questions.

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If it feels like something's got into a bit of a col-de-sac, there might

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be a question there, there might be a word or something or a term or whatever

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someone's used that you could then ask, you know, What does that mean to you?

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Or what does that make you think of?

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Or this is what I'm thinking of when I, when I hear that word,

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but what does it mean for you?

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Number two is asking open-ended questions.

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I have an instinct to ask questions because I feel like that's a thing that

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I should do, you know, especially if I'm going to support someone, I kind of

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tend to go in with the asking questions because I'm conscious of, you get me

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in an area that I'm familiar with or excited about and I can yammer on.

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I mean, I do a daily podcast where I talk for 20 minutes a day for God's

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sake, so, you know, you get it.

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I'm not great at small talk.

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And so I use questions as a way of generating conversation.

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But sometimes it can end up with are you enjoying the event?

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Which is, you know, leads to a yeah, it's fine, or yeah.

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It's all right kind of answer.

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So we want to go with open-ended questions, things like, you know,

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questions that begin with what, where, why, when, who, how those

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kinds of questions are much better.

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So try thinking about the phrasing of your questions and see if there's a

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way that you can open them up and give people that opportunity to expound.

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Number three, then avoid interrupting.

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Now some people do this because there's a fear that if they don't say

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the thing that's on their mind now they'll forget it., which tends to

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be pegged to a sort of ADHD trait.

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And to be honest, my answer to that is like, would that be the

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worst thing in the world if you forgot what you were going to say?

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Do you know what I mean?

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I think there's a, there's a tendency there to think that the thing you

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need to say needs to be said, like needs to be said, and it might be

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that you could trust yourself that you'll probably remember it later, you

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know, you'll, you'll have some sort of cue, some sort of liminal change,

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you know, you move into a different space or you see that person again

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that made you think of the thing.

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And then, then you can collar them later and be like, oh, I meant to say to you

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actually, there's this thing here, uh, that you might want to look into, and

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that actually is so much better because you've created this intimate connection.

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You've added a little, little bit of value between you and this other person.

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They're much more likely to, to be engaged and to appreciate that than

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like, oh yeah, just carry it on because you're worried that you'll forget

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about it, because honestly, my answer to that is like, so you forgot, you

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know, So you didn't end up saying a thing, you know, I think it's okay.

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I think it's actually okay.

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If you don't remember everything that you wanted to say.

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Number four is focus on understanding.

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So.

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I love throwing out info.

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If I'm knowledgeable on a particular topic, I've caught myself a few

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times in certain spaces now.

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And I, I think it can come off sometimes as wow this person really wants to tell

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us that he's always got the answer.

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Like he's got the answer to every question.

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Okay.

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Well done to him, you know?

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And actually where it comes from is completely from that space of

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like, oh, I know this as well, and I can help it's coming from a good

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place and a good, a good space.

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But I think it can sometimes.

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Come off as like, all right, let's let's let someone else go.

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And so that's kind of the, the point here for, uh, for number four

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is to let someone else go first.

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Allow that to be a beat of silence.

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Allow that to be a moment where no one has the answer.

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But also leave that time for people to come up with their own answer,

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you know, sometimes asking a question is better than providing an answer.

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And, you know, leaving space sometimes is better than, than jumping in straight

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away, because you might find that someone just needed a little bit of

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extra time to come up with their answer.

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And also the thing you have the answer to might not strictly

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be the question that they were asking or the problem that they

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were talking about or whatever.

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And you know, sometimes we have this sort of, we snap to a grid

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where we're like, I'm pretty sure I have some knowledge Jason, to

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this that will be interesting.

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But that might not be specifically the thing that they're asking.

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And so if you jump into quickly without saying when you say,

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X, are you talking about this?

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And then you can expound.

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If you, if you're certain that you've, you've actually

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got the right piece of info.

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Number five practice empathy.

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I'm not saying you're not empathetic, but it's, it's one of those things that

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it's useful to just be reminded of.

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Remember that this isn't fun for everyone.

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These events aren't fun, especially at the beginning where, you know,

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No one really knows each other and lots of people are feeling inhibited.

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Lots of people do find that stuff draining and you might

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not, you might find it charging.

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But bearing in mind that that lots of people will find this draining, you

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are probably quite skilled at reading and mirroring body language, I would

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imagine if you feel extroverted.

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So you can use that energy to bring yours down a little bit.

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This I believe is called co-regulation.

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When two people get together, they can regulate each other's nervous systems.

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So if you are someone who's maybe a bit spiky and a bit up and you

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chat with someone who's a bit down, you can use that rather than

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you trying to bring that level up to you, actually use this to go.

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Okay, I can speak a little bit slower, a little bit quieter.

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Number six is to pass the mic.

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So if you're in a huddle and you know, someone has got a good answer to a

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question or you've got that sense you're starting to pick it up from

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the room of like, oh, this person probably knows or, you know, maybe

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that's slightly off somewhere else and you know, that that name, you might

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bring him into the conversation like.

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Oh, actually, you know what.

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Uh, Susan knows the answer to this and bring Susan over kind of thing.

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That can be a really nice way of you are still being useful.

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You are still adding value.

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You're still in many ways being memorable.

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But you are passing the mic to someone else to allow them to shine as well.

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So use your, uh, tendency or your willingness to jump in

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and help, but actually help by passing them off to someone else.

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Even if, and perhaps, especially if that is someone who is as expert as you on

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a particular thing, you know, if you're you're there and you're talking about

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a particular, uh, camera technique or mic technique or something, you know,

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to do with your field, and you know, the answer and you've got your good

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sense of like, this is what should be done, but actually, you know, Pete over

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there is like, actually I know they know some stuff about this as well,

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and maybe we differ, maybe we don't, bring Pete into the conversation.

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Because then it just, it makes it less of the you show, which is always nice.

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Number seven is, the nicer way of saying this, there's a mean

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way and there's a nice way.

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I think that slightly nicer ways to reflect before responding.

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The slightly meaner ways I'm sure many of us have been told throughout allows

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us to think before you speak, uh, which is a little bit harsh, but it kind of

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goes back to an earlier point, really.

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Do you need to seek some clarity or clarification on something that

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someone is talking about, or a question that you've been asked?

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Because you might have an adjacently right answer, but there might

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be something that you've missed.

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There might be a detail or something.

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That perhaps you missed earlier in the conversation before you

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sidled up, you know, And you start barreling in with something that

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could feel a little bit mansplained or, you know, the female equivalent.

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I don't think there is, but you know what I mean?

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You know, coming in with like, well, actually you should do this, and

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then like the whole group is like, no, no, we, we talked about that.

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And so again, like realizing you don't necessarily need to fill the

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silence if no-one's got an answer.

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If you're in a huddle or if you're speaking to someone or whatever,

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you can demonstrate that your thinking just like everyone else's.

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And also.

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If it's just one-on-one and someone asks you something and you don't know,

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it's cool to just say, I don't know.

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You can just say, you know what?

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I don't know.

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And if you, again, like pass the mic, if you think there's someone

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here who I think would know, then point them in their direction or at

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least say actually, you know what I think, uh, Simon knows about this.

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Number eight is to practice a bit of mindfulness.

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So, staying present.

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Can be tricky in these kinds of things, because we're always thinking

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about, maybe we're thinking about ourselves and how we come off, or

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maybe we're thinking about what's the next thing, next thing we're going

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to say to this person, or what's the next conversation I can go to?

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Oh, that person over there, that, that conversation that

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sounds really interesting.

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Oh, I've just seen Samantha.

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I really wanted to, to collar Samantha about something, you know?

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We can be sort of all over the place and maybe we're not focused that much

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on the conversation that we're having at that particular time and the connection

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that you might be able to make there.

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And when I say connection, I mean, in terms of a human connection,

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not necessarily, uh, in the, in the strategic sense of, you

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know, getting someone's email address kind of connection.

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So focusing on your breathing can help you.

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It can help you sort of stay present and just give you

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that, that thing to focus on.

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Because when you're more present, you're going to form those deeper

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connections because you're going to be really listening to what someone is

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saying and actually thinking about it, giving it that thought, hopefully not

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overthinking it, but just giving it the right amount of thought which then

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helps you make slower, more considered responses, which helps build trust

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and build connections with people.

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Number nine then is to seek feedback.

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So.

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I think um, something you could do before you go into a networking

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scenario in next time, you've got an opportunity and you really want to come

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away having done really well, not just having enjoyed it, but actually like,

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yeah, with a bunch of email addresses or Instagram handles or LinkedIn

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profiles, people that you can tap up later to, to, uh, be interested in the

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work that you're doing, maybe support you see how you can support them,

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rising tide raises all boats, right?

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That kind of stuff.

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So if, you know, if you're going into an event and that kind of

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thing is important to you and you want to do well, then ask

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your friends and family what they think of your listening skills.

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Have they got any pointers for you or are there things that they've noticed,

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like you seem to do this thing and it indicates to me that you're not

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really listening to what I'm saying.

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So, you know, maybe watch that, you know, and even if you are,

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it's like, sometimes you look like you're not listening.

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And so, yeah, that can be something that you can, you can maybe be aware

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of and, uh, and have, uh, a bit of a work on, you know, any, any

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blind spots, that kind of thing.

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And then number 10, as much as I've been saying, like do this, don't do

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this and think about this, prevent yourself from do this or avoid this,

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like actually go in and be yourself as, as much as you can, like.

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Kind of a little bit going back to the mindfulness thing, really?

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Trying not to be someone else.

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Because that in itself can be exhausting, you know?

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So, if you do notice yourself getting into a habit or something that I've

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talked about here that you think, oh, you know what, actually, I want

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to, I want to be aware of that or curb that behavior or whatever it is,

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when you notice those moments, don't give yourself a hard time about it.

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Just notice it without judgment.

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Just, oh, it did that thing.

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That's interesting.

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Using curiosity rather than I did that thing again, I can't believe

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I wasn't listening to what that guy said and I interrupted again.

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Just being mindful of, oh, I seem to have interrupted there.

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Oh, that's interesting.

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And then returned to the conversation.

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Just noting it in your mind, making it memorable because

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memorable things get remembered.

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So just remembering it, uh, and just noting that down and go,

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oh yeah, I did that thing again.

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Okay.

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And then cracking them.

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Okay, couple of bonus ones then I was sort of.

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I talked about this yesterday a little bit.

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If you're in a group of people, it can be really, really

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helpful if you can make a little bit of space in that group.

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So rather than standing in a closed circle, if you go for,

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uh, an open circle where there is a gap, That invites people in.

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So that then signals to someone else who maybe feels a little bit awkward

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or a bit self-conscious, it's okay to come in, we haven't closed off.

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Yeah, it gives them a physical place to stand where they can actually then

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get a bit of eye contact with people.

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And then they can lock themselves into the group.

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And then once you notice that happening, Again, just try and make a

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subtle shift and even call it out to people, say, let's, let's widen the

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circle out a little bit so that we can leave a gap because I want to make

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sure that other people can come in.

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You can be that person who can just quickly guide.

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And after one or two times of doing that, you might notice that people

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start doing it and it can be, become something that becomes, you know, it

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spreads out a little bit, and it's a really useful way of being able then

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to create a bit of space for people who may be, feel a bit self-conscious about

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barging into a, to a group in a huddle.

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And then the last point is, just as I was talking about yesterday, where if

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you feel introverted, that is not a deficiency, it's a difference, I mean

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the same goes for you, uh, absolutely.

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But also that is not something that you need to fix in others.

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You don't need to bring people out of their shells necessarily.

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They might be quite happy in their shells.

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The shells might be where they do their best work.

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So just allowing for that, to be the case.

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And with all of this stuff, I don't want you to, I don't want you to think

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that I don't think you have feelings.

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Like that isn't, you know, as much as I've been going off here.

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I'm not suggesting that like, Stuff that, that you encounter doesn't

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affect you or that you don't have a, uh, verbose inner monologue you know?

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Absolutely, I know you will as well.

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You know, just because you're more outgoing does not mean that you

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are not introspective as well.

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So please don't think that I am denying your feelings in this or, you know,

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trying to force any kind of change.

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We, you know, as someone who probably errs more towards the introverted,

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especially like I said, in unfamiliar spaces, we need people like you.

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We do.

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We need you.

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But it's just that the more aware you are of your tendencies, just like

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introverts need to be aware of theirs, the easier it is to sort of round off

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those, those sharper edges really.

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And the more rewarding time you'll end up having.

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Cool.

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So time for my extra shot then, which today is the Famous and Gravy podcast.

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This is life lessons from dead celebrities presented by

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Michael Osborne and Amit Kapoor.

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This is, uh, it's, it's such a good podcast.

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They, they look at the life of a notable person, uh, who is now

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no longer with us and then ask a bunch of questions to essentially

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figure out is there's the kind of life that I would like to have led?

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Uh, and it's, it's really good.

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Uh, it's a great episode from a few weeks back, uh, on Carrie

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Fisher, really wonderful.

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Uh, and they, they, they go in and they do the research.

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And it's, It's not a, it's not a comedy podcast, but you know, there is

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a lightness to it, but you really do come away with some, some good things

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to think about and, uh, some questions to ask about your own life as well.

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So famousandgravy.com.

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Go and check it out.

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Link is also in the show notes.

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And with that, uh, if you have got anything that you

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want to let people know about, then mark@morningcreative.fm.

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So we'll get onto one thing that you can do today to, uh, help you

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get more out of networking if you are, uh, in an extrovert mode.

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But before then, I just want to shout out to, uh, Frances for

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becoming my latest Backstage member.

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Frances now gets access to my behind the scenes podcast, uh, as well as

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all of the download numbers and the subscriber numbers for this project, so,

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she can see what I'm doing to build up my business here, my little practice.

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Uh, and so you can be like her by going to hellosteadman.com/backstage.

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And thank you to the lovely people who left, uh, such lovely comments

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actually on my episode yesterday about networking for introverts.

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Really, really appreciate it.

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@hellosteadman on the socials is where you can find me.

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So next time then we are going, uh, we're going back online and

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we're going to talk everything you wanted to know about collaboration,

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but we're too insular to ask.

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So, if you do one thing today, Think about the next networking

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opportunity that you have coming up.

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Make a plan to follow up with five to 10 people after the event.

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So, if you've got to do that, then you're going to be thinking about

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making a note of people's LinkedIn or Instagram handles or just their names.

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And then set a reminder the day after the event to go and start

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following people and DM-ing people and building up your network that way.

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This way you can not only be the life and soul of the party on the

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night, but you can also be the one who initiates that deeper connection.

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