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Category: ELearning

The Introvert’s Edge to Networking

A Review.

OMG I’ve got to do what? 

Networking: the plot of every introverted business person’s horror movie, am I right? There is nothing like a room full of strangers who may or may not want to work with you that you HAVE to interact with to pursue your dreams. The nerves, the fear, the panic attacks, the butterflies, the inability to remember your own name.

Well, what if it didn’t have to be like this? What if we – the introverts of the world – could use our innate skills to network naturally and leave an event with a smile instead of a cringe? We can. Absolutely. The Introvert’s Edge to Networking has shown me how. In fact, I am starting to see my introversion as a strength where it has been historically perceived as a weakness. 

"To truly succeed in strategic networking, YOU CAN'T BEND YOURSELF TO WHAT OTHERS WANT, or even what you mean to sell: they must bend to you." Matthew Pollard

Turns out, some of those natural abilities that help define me as an introvert are some of the best networking skills available. Matthew Pollard’s second book, The Introvert’s Edge to Networking not only showed me how to see this as reality, it also showed me how to use them to my advantage. 

The Gist

Throughout my life in assorted businesses, networking has always been my nemesis. I’m no good with too many people around, there’s too much information to gather. My brain always gathers data whether I ask it to or not. Who’s there, what’s going on, what’s on the buffet, the atmosphere, good discussions, bad discussions, secrets, people to seek out, people to avoid, and on and on – and the bigger the room, the harder my poor little brain works. So by the end of any event, I’m exhausted even if I just sit in a corner and don’t say a word. 

Now I know that this can be mitigated, if not alleviated, by one simple trick Matthew discusses: being prepared. The depth to which he clarifies his methodology and how he got to it is wonderful and illuminating. A number of tips and tricks are elucidated for us to take, modify, or discard as appropriate. Now I can gather the data in advance, and only have to worry about being in the moment with people like I prefer. 

Good thing, too, because now that I am all narration, all the time, networking is more relevant to my business. Potential corporate narration and eLearning clients are everywhere, as are authors looking to get into audiobooks. They all need a narrator, and if it’s not me, there’s a good chance I know another awesome narrator who would be ideal. Gaining new tools to truly become the Intent Facilitator that I have always innately been is, oddly enough, fun.

Introverted Networking 101

It’s not like he’s reinvented the wheel or achieved Networking Enlightenment (well, maybe he has, but that’s another story). Matthew has simply seen what is in front of us and packaged it in a lovely little present for us to open. He provides stories, suggestions, thoughts, inspiration, templates. There is woo-woo stuff and full-stop logical stuff. Bottom line, the way Matthew presents his information works for all sorts of people, probably even those weird extraverts. 

Perhaps the biggest thing I have gotten out of Matthew’s books is comfort with my introversion. Today, I am not just OK with being a borderline hermit, I am beginning to embrace it and use it to my advantage. Especially in marketing and networking. 

"When you speak about something you really care about, you can't help speaking with passion and excitement." Matthew Pollard

Even though they are about all I’ve ever known, ‘Spray & Pray’ and ‘If you Build it They will Come’ are not valid marketing strategies. Who’da thunk it? 

So I’ve learned I have hitherto been what Matthew terms an ‘aimless networker’, which really explains a lot. I’m unwilling to be smarmy and transactional and unable to be a social butterfly. For an introvert, hustle like is so often the norm at networking events, like ‘regular’ people do and enjoy and rock at, this hustle equals burnout. And minimal results. So networking has often been seen as lose-lose and hence ignored, discounted, and done under duress.

He says to “focus on strategy and preparation, not trying to be charismatic and engaging.” This is helping me to break the belief that I have to be Brilliant and Wonderful at all times. It also is helping me to remember my roots as a researcher and that it is a Good Thing to know what I’m heading into. Be it an online workshop with acting coaches and directors, an in-person conference with the whole audiobook world, or a local Chamber of Commerce meeting. Between this quote and working to delineate my mission and define my passion, my confidence levels are skyrocketing. And not crashing back down like they usually do.

The Future’s So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades

Now I am (almost) looking forward to networking. Part of it is because I freaking love, Love, LOVE research, but it is also because The Introvert’s Edge to Networking has given me the freedom and permission to be myself at all times. Yay! For so long, I have tried to mold myself to match what all of my clients, regardless of the industry, want. The goal now is to match my narration clients to what I want, to who I am. I don’t have to be someone else’s idea of good. The Real Me is perfect for plenty of people. 

"Success doesn't come from being everything to everyone but being the only logical choice to a select few." Matthew Pollard

The Bottom Line

Matthew GETS introverts because he is one of us. His success, and the success of innumerable other introverts throughout the world and history, proves we can all get where we want to go. We just have to play to our strengths and not try to force our square selves into round holes. Until this whole global pandemic thing subsides, I’ll have to wait to test my new found theories in full force, but even the tiny forays have shown me that Matthew knows what he’s talking about. 

If you, like me, are an introvert who has always struggled with networking but has to do it to live your best life, this book is worth acquiring. I am sooooooooooooooo grateful to have received an ARC – advanced review copy, that is – of The Introvert’s Edge to Networking and be a part of the launch. (Every word of this review is my own and voluntary.) Thanks, Matthew.

Check it out on Amazon here (releases Jan 19, 2021).

Reach out to chat or just say hi. If you need a voice, you can hear me on my websites. Feel free to email with requests for auditions/sample reads : lisasware.com for audiobooks and lswareonline.com for corporate narration/eLearning.

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Learning to Fly – Doctor Ordered

Life is Messy

How do you view your past? Is it something you rejoice in or something you ignore? Did your past happen to you or is your past a part of you? Do you let it guide you or let it rule you? Do you accept that all the bits and pieces that make up your past coalesce to make up you? 

“What happens to each of us is ordered. It furthers our destiny. … There is a single harmony. Just as the world forms a single body comprising all bodies, so fate forms a single purpose, comprising all purposes.” 

There is causality. Nothing has no effect. Without the past, we would not be where we are now. To be human is to be a mess of thoughts and feelings with no guide book. Tossed off a cliff and told to fly – figure it out on the way down. 

Okay… So How Do We Fly?

We are made up of everything that has come before now. And will add tidbits as time passes. The good, the bad, the happy, the sad, the fun, the scary, the funny, the annoying, the easy, the hard. EVERY. THING. The people. The places. The events. 

All of it snowballs to become the person you are today. The pieces fit together to form the picture of you.

Two wooden animatronic figures each holding a puzzle piece, nearly connecting. In the background is a multicolored, vertically striped background.

Take all of these bits and pieces and use them to form your Self. If you can do then then you will be cohesive, smooth, and solid – and ready to fly. If you try to leave out pieces or pretend they aren’t there, then you’ll just be a spiky mess – and fall quickly to the ground. There aren’t many spiked aircraft… just sayin’.

All too often we want to hide, deny, ignore, or change our pasts. What we did. What was done to us. Who we did it with. Why. 

While we should not dwell on the past – that is as unproductive as pretending it doesn’t exist – we should embrace it as part of us.

You’re Joking Right? 

Not kidding. Totally serious. And believe me, I know how unpleasant that can be. If all the trauma and drama of my life went away, so would my personality as it is today. If everything had always been rosy and gentle, then I would not be the me I am. 

  • I would not be as strong.
  • I would not be as knowledgeable.
  • I would not be as solid.
  • I would not be as real.

Marcus uses the doctor analogy – take your medicine, do your exercises. “It may not always be pleasant, but we embrace it – because we want to get well.” Accept what is prescribed, “Accept it because of what it leads to: the good health of the work.”

How do you know pleasure if you’ve never experienced pain? The good, the bad, and the indifferent are all relevant and necessary parts of life. You can’t skip one just because you wanna. They will all be there no matter what you do or who you are. 

So, we can reject our pasts and be sharp, jagged souls, resentful and angry. Or we can accept our pasts and be smooth, settled sound, not perfect but content. Use your past to inform your future. 

Don’t dwell on it. Don’t deny it. Just be the you it has made you. “No nature would bring something about that wasn’t beneficial to what it governed.” 

Does this have ANYTHING to do with Narration?

Yep. Indubitably.

That messy life?

All those experiences? The good times and the craptastic days? They all led me here. To narration. And not only did they bring me here, they will help me in my performances. They give me the ability to instill authenticity to my reads in ways I wouldn’t be capable of had I enjoyed a life free of my experiences. 

The deaths of my parents taught me tragedy, visceral pain, unmitigated aloneness, and all sorts of stuff about living.

All those bad relationships taught me (eventually) to believe in myself and not take crap from anyone.

All those random research clients and jobs taught me that I can do anything I set my mind to and that there are more ways to do anything than you would expect. 

The kidney transplant (I was the donor side) taught me what it feels like to Fulfill a Purpose. 

When I am in the booth, I am able to pull up each and every experience to help me convey my author’s intent. There is a memory for everything. Some may need to be repurposed or embellished, of course. I haven’t experienced all the things everywhere. I mean, I’ve never killed anyone, so there will have to be some license there, but  have studied candlestick charting and was a day trader briefly so I can speak authoritatively as such. And on and on and on.

So embrace your past. Don’t dwell on it and relive it all the time, but use it to learn from and to inform your future self. You would not be the beautiful you you are without all that stuff you try to hide. Be messy. Be real. Be human.

Goodness knows I’m trying to do so!

"What happens to each of us is ordered. It furthers our destiny." Marcus Aurelius
We all have our own path to our own mountain.

(All quotes are from Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations.)


Reach out to chat or just say hi. If you need a voice, you can hear me on my websites. Feel free to email with requests for auditions/sample reads : lisasware.com.

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Nurture your Nature

Know Thyself & Be Thyself

Greetings! Today’s quote for discussion from Marcus Aurelius is a good one! Granted, they all are, or I wouldn’t use them. But that’s beside the point. This one nails down one of the foundations of my philosophy as a narrator with a business background. Being Yourself is Always the Best Person to Be. To top it off, the rewards of nurturing your nature include confidence and contentment!

“If an action or utterance is appropriate, then it’s appropriate for you. Don’t be put off by other people’s comments and criticism. … The others obey their own lead, follow their own impulses. Don’t be distracted. Keep walking. Follow your own nature and follow Nature – along the road they share.”

We all too often ignore our own selves and proceed based on other people’s realities. There will always be someone telling us we should things their way, behave as they want or expect. Sometimes that isn’t a problem, but sometimes we have to stand up for ourselves, our beliefs, and how our paths align with Nature (the kind with a capital ‘N’).

While there are certainly times for compromise and change, that does not mean that it’s a good idea to let others dictate your nature – your personality and way of being. We are all special little snowflakes in our own way. Embrace it before you melt.

“If it is right to say or do it, then it's the right thing for you to do or to say.” Marcus Aurelius
  • We have to do what works for us.
  • If it is not detrimental to yourself or others, do it.
  • If it is right, then it is right for you.
  • If it is wrong, then it is wrong for you.

A Mantra for any Storm

Now, I’m not going to get into the whole what is or isn’t right v wrong or good v evil debate here; that is a much different discussion! And one that is greatly subjective. For our purposes here, there is a simple mantra that can help keep you in check. 

Basically, don’t be a dick. (Sorry if that word offends you. But if it does, you may want to not read my blogs because I will assuredly let slip the occasionally appropriate curse word or so. Or otherwise inappropriate comment. This ain’t nuthin’. ) 

As long as I can answer the question “are you being a dick?” in the negative, then I feel free to carry on with my bad self. Every industry has expert voices and some of these should be listened to while others… not so much.

Recently, I watched a webinar – I wish I could remember which one so I could credit the amazing woman who said it – that instilled a phrase into me that has helped solidify the whole concept even more. “I am the authority on what works in my life.” This. Is. Brilliant. So simple and yet so mindblowing.

Do I do my gosh-dilly-darndest to adhere to Best Practices in everything I do? Absolutely. Am I willing to adjust my mindset, workflows, methodology, or whatever to grow and improve? Most definitely. Will I change my personality to make it work? Nope.

Nor would I expect it of anyone else. I am here to help some, not all. Some are here to help me, not all. That’s cool. Anything else would be overwhelming or suck. 😉

Lessons from Popeye

I am who I am. There was a time when I thought that wasn’t enough, wasn’t good enough, wasn’t right, wasn’t wasn’t wasn’t. When I spent my time conforming to whatever world I was in and playing by rules set by the infamous ‘Them’. So I ended up (throughout many a project, client, and job) learning all about the stock markets and trading, real estate from every conceivable angle, and the legal industry. I ran an IT company and helped a number of small businesses in a number of ways.

A vintage black and white comic with Olive Oil on the left looking at Popeye as he says “I yam what I yam an' tha's all I yam.”
Thanks, Popeye!

Yet all that time, I felt adrift, lost. Never settled, always unsatisfied. Because I was existing the THEIR world, living by THEIR parameters and promptly ignoring any desires not to do so. Then I stopped letting the Undue Influences in my life have their say and have been re-finding myself ever since. 

Breaking free from this wasn’t, at least initially, a conscious decision. I was merely finished with not being Me. It wasn’t, isn’t, and won’t be easy. It’s another part of the whole being human thing. There is always pressure. From peers, from family, from society. To keep up with the Jones (or the Kardashians), to be like Mike, to stay in the lines. This pressure can be intense and unrelenting. But winning this battle is worth it. 

Being Human

Learning about and nurturing my nature has been the best thing I’ve done in forever. The biggest trick has been realizing and re-realizing that what worked before, may not now. What works now, may not work later. The things that I value, want, desire, need, etc. all shift and change and that is okay. As long as I am true to myself to the best of my ability, I will be well on my way wherever I want to go. 

All those past things, though? All that experience and expertise gained? All of it can now be applied to the wonderful world of narration. All those years in small business land taught me TONS. Perhaps the extensive business background I have is why I lean toward nonfiction audiobooks and corporate narration. Just another piece of the beautiful puzzle of my life. 

Takeaways? Be yourself. Be open. Be real. Be true. But don’t be a dick.

Two plastic figurines, Space Godzilla on the left and original Godzilla on the right. They are holding a sticker that says “Basically, don't be a dick.”
Godzilla & Space Godzilla say so.

Reach out to chat or just say hi. If you need a voice, you can hear me on my websites. Feel free to email with requests for auditions/sample reads : lisasware.com.

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Stoicism: Not Just for Ancients Anymore

(Not So) Deep Thoughts

A picture of Lisa's favorite translantion of Marcus Aurelius's Meditations. The creased black cover has a red crow silhouette with a white feather in the foreground containing the title and author.

Today, we are re-embarking on a journey through Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations! (Well, I am. You can if you want to.) This book, in all of its translations, has been my go-to since the first time I read a snippet eons before narration, storytelling, and creation in general became my thing. In college, I acquired a pocket sized copy that I quite literally loved to pieces. Now, my shelves are graced with at least four different versions in varied stages of dog-earedness. Each translation has a slightly different slant on the interpretation of the original text and I’ve rotated through them over the years. 

The snippets, or stanzas, have taught me everything from patience to acceptance to motivation to self-love. The battlefield writings of an Ancient Roman general have given me more tools to work with everyday life than I can ever convey. Having lost my parents at 16, I was anchor-less for some time. Stoicism, and especially the Meditations, became my anchor and has guided me through some dark & stormy times. It has also been around to put a spotlight on the good times and help keep me from becoming complacent during a calm. 

So What?

Everyone has a philosophy they live by, even if it is to have no philosophy. (Rush’s ‘Free Will’, anyone?) Knowing how and where to apply your philosophy, much less how to internalize it enough to live by, it is often the challenge. Stoicism applies everywhere, you just have to look. Or pay attention. 🙂 

As with most of Marcus’ writings, the opening stanza of Book Five applies no matter who you are. Another commonality is that it is something many people don’t want to listen to.

When you have trouble getting out of bed, tell yourself, “I have to go to work – as a human being.”

This is enough of a beast to unpack that most will shut down here and not keep reading to get to the meaty part where he explains that we don’t trust ourselves, we don’t follow our own guts. We discount and dismiss things we see as not worth our time and energy. And end up self-centered black holes of lameness. What you should do is –

  • Trust yourself.
  • Be yourself.
  • Know yourself.
  • Then do.

Too much time is spent doing what we are ‘supposed’ to do that we miss out on what we truly should be doing.

We forget to be happy.

We forget to be kind. (To ourselves and to others!)

We forget to be ourselves.

We live as automatons, humanoid but not fully human. An image of a robot skeleton  from the waist up with humanoid skin forming face, ears, neck and shoulders.

It is so easy to do. Society tends to reward it, recommend it, even seem to require it sometimes. Goodness knows, I existed like this for most of my life. Despite best efforts otherwise, even. 

Ok… So What’s That MEAN?

“You don’t love yourself enough. Or you’d love your nature, too, and what it demands of you. People who love what they do wear themselves down doing it. … Do you have less respect for your own nature than the engraver does for engraving, the dancer for the dance, the miser for the money, or the social climber for status?”

It has taken me years to internalize even a portion of this second bit, and is an ongoing, never-ending battle with myself. One I never plan on winning because I never plan to stop learning and growing. 

Yet we all should do what we love so that we love what we do. I never got that. It never made a lick of sense to me. Until I started narrating. Now, every single day, I wake up with a smile, knowing that I go to work as what I am intended to be – a human. A human whose purpose it is to bring enjoyment to others, to assist, and to teach. 

Narration allows me to do all of this and more. Corporate narration and eLearning give me opportunities to inform, to share knowledge, and to train people to help them succeed. Audiobooks are just magic and allow me to express any iteration of Self I could ever conceive. I can be the narrator in a 30 character Superhero Fantasy one day and an inspirational self-help storyteller the next. 

Bottom Line

Philosophy in general, and Stoicism in particular, can really help a soul find itself. When you find yourself, even a little bit, everything starts to come together. If you pay attention and don’t let yourself get too caught up in the pieces you cannot impact or control, those other pieces – the ones you CAN impact and control – will soon show you the picture of your Nature. Then – You do you. 

You do you, boo.

Reach out to chat or just say hi. If you need a voice, you can hear me on my websites. Feel free to email with requests for auditions/sample reads : lisasware.com.

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