Monica Parkin is an award winning international speaker and the Author of “Overcoming Awkward, the Introvert’s Guide to Networking, Marketing and Sales,”.
She is also an entrepreneur and she first started out in business, she found herself struggling with how to build authentic connections with a fear of attending large events and no understanding of how to build relationships. She has since evolved into a master relationship builder and is here to share insights that will help you feel more successful, confident, and valued.
This transcript is machine transcribed by Sonix
Intro: [00:00:08] Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX Studios in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s time for workplace wisdom sharing, insight, perspective and best practices for creating the planet’s best workplaces. Now here’s your host.
Stone Payton: [00:00:31] Welcome to another exciting and informative edition of Workplace Wisdom Stone Payton here with you this afternoon, and you guys are in for a real treat. Please join me in welcoming to the broadcast speaker, author, podcast host and someone who has just recently released the book Overcoming Awkward The Introverts Guide to Networking, Marketing and Sales, Miss Monica Parkin and How Are You?
Monica Parkin: [00:00:58] I’m great. Thank you, Stone. I’m excited to be here.
Stone Payton: [00:01:01] Well, we are delighted to have you on the show. There’s so much that you write about that you speak about and that you have some, some some perspective, some unique perspective on that applies to so many people in the workplace. What what did compel you to write this book in the first place? So what is my wife? What were you thinking?
Monica Parkin: [00:01:26] Yeah, really? What was I thinking? It was a couple of things. One is, as as you mentioned in your intro, I’m a speaker, and after I would do a speech, I was be like, This would make a great book chapter sometimes, right? And I always had this idea in the back of my head that I’d like to do that, but I could never get the the momentum going. And I was kind of just laying in bed on a Saturday morning when scrolling Facebook and I see this 30 day writing challenge pop up and I was like, You know, if I had like that challenge like like I knew I had to get it done in a certain amount of time, maybe I could do it. And so I signed up for it. It was like a hundred bucks and I thought, you know, a hundred dollars isn’t much to spend, but it’s just enough that I don’t want to throw it away either. And that’s actually how this started was with a 30 day writing challenge.
Stone Payton: [00:02:10] So is this the product of you observing what you people that you might characterize as introverts and finding them a little bit awkward and kind of observing patterns? Or is this born of some personal experience or a little bit of both?
Monica Parkin: [00:02:28] Definitely born of personal experience. So definitely a total total complete introvert here. Or at least I used to be. I guess I still am at my core, but you just wouldn’t know it to to talk to me now. But yeah, definitely some workplace career experiences that that caused me to have to get out of my shell, to have to push myself and challenge myself and find new ways of of interacting with people. And out of those experiences came came stories and analogies, and out of all of that came a book.
Stone Payton: [00:03:02] Now in your line of work, as I understand it, or at least this is how it is a little old Woodstock, Georgia, where I run one of our Business RadioX studios. You’re a lot of work. You’re in the mortgage arena, right? And for some time, there are several people here in the local community in Woodstock. And I suspect this is probably true in most communities and they need to get out. They need to build relationships with with real estate professionals. They need to build relationships with business owners. They need to be recognized and known in the community. So I would think that that networking and hanging out at community events and all that kind of stuff would be a really typically a very important part of their job. And if they struggle with that, it could really impact their impact, their success, right?
Monica Parkin: [00:03:48] It is. But here’s the funny part of it. Like, I never got the memo about that. So when I was feeling I didn’t write, I had no idea when I dealt with the mortgage broker that I dealt with. We did everything by phone and email. I never talked to her on the phone. I had a great experience. I thought, This is great. This is a great career, would be perfect for me. I can just stay home, hang out with my dog. I don’t have to get to know people. I can do this all online. It’ll be great. So, you know, I go to school, I sign up, I get, you know, I spent eight months getting my license. I go to a brokerage and they’re like, So when are you? When are you going to bring some clients in? I’m like, What am I going to bring some clients? And you’re going to you’re going to give me clients right? And I and they’re like, No, you got to get out there and network and get to know people and get yourself known in the community. None of this stuff is going to be handed to you. And I was I almost quit on the spot. I was like, What? Like, How did I miss? How did I not know this, you know? And it was just a huge shock to my system, and we can talk more about this. But basically, that was the moment after I’d done all the work when I found out that there was actually a lot more work to do.
Stone Payton: [00:04:53] So I mean, my business partner who incidentally, is the the founder and CEO of the entire Business RadioX network, I’ve been working with him for 15 years. We’ve had some success. We’ve really enjoyed this business marriage of ours. He will be the first to tell you that that he’s an introvert and we often will approach conversations very differently. And he’s perfectly happy. You know, for me to be the guy that you know, goes and does the million cups presentation or, you know, it shows the deck to somebody, but he’s he’s quite effective, quite successful. So I guess he’s begun to find his way. And you clearly have found some some strategies, some ways to to approach this if you are an introvert. But a lot of your counsel, at least when I was when I was looking through it seemed kind of counterintuitive. It wasn’t what I was expecting.
Monica Parkin: [00:05:47] Yeah. Funny thing, you know, so that very first networking event that I went to, you know, the office said, we’re going to make it easy for you. There’s a Chamber of Commerce dinner. You can come along, you know, we’ll have a great time. You can meet some people. And I got to that thing and there was no one there that I knew, and I literally I turn around and I went out to my car because I just had a panic attack and I just sat out my car and went, I can’t do this, I can’t do this like this is too hard. And then one of my colleagues drove up. And of course, I, you know, I couldn’t bail at that point. So I walked in with her and I got through that event and I I did all the things I was told to do right. I shook people’s hands, I handed out cards, I did all that stuff, sold them on myself, told them I could get them the best rate, the best mortgage. I was like in everybody’s face. And then I got home at the end of the night and I’m looking at this handful of cards and I’m like, like, what am I even going to do with these things? You know, and I ended up throwing them out, and then I had this moment where I was like, Oh, my goodness, if I’m throwing out their cards, what like, what are they doing to my cards? And that’s when I realized, like that kind of networking. Maybe it works for some people, but it wasn’t going to work for me. It wasn’t the way to build an authentic relationship with somebody.
Stone Payton: [00:06:54] So you made the transition, or probably a more accurate word is probably transformation based on you, you tell me so far. So I mean, did this take
Monica Parkin: [00:07:03] Months, years? Yeah, yeah. Well, it’s kind of like, you know, I guess it’s like watching your kids grow up one day. They’re a little kid, and the next day they’re growing up and you don’t know when it happened. It’s kind of how I feel about it. Like one day I was just total reclusive introvert, and one day I woke up and here I am, you know, speaking to people and showing up early at these events that I used to be afraid of. Because actually, that’s where the best conversations are right when you get there early and there’s people to talk to and. But I shifted my perspective from what can I tell you about me to what can I learn about you, to being curious about other people and connecting other people with each other? So instead of let me sell you a mortgage or let me sell you a product? Oh, that’s interesting, Jill, you’re a blogger and you blog about food. Well, Susie over there owns a winery. Have you guys met yet and then connect them? And then this beautiful reciprocity starts to happen, right? They remember who connected them. Not like, you’re expecting a favor back, but but you’re growing your own humanity when you grow other people’s communities. And it’s that authentic connections, those subtle, little authentic connections that really grow relationships.
Stone Payton: [00:08:09] I so appreciate and genuinely resonate with what you’re describing and the antithesis of that which fortunately, here in Woodstock, in our little community, this is not the case at all, but I have been to those meetings where there’s maybe me and another person, maybe me and two other people, and the person has asked me a question, and I’m trying to answer it as best I can. Their objective is trade the cards and I can. I often can see them, but I can almost always feel them looking over my shoulder and like their next target, like they’re not having a real conversation with me. It sounds like part of the part of part of the the formula here, and the the best approach is just to have a real conversation. And the other piece I think I heard and that was take on the role of helping to other people. Other people connect with each other.
Monica Parkin: [00:09:02] Yeah, yeah, it’s someone told me once it’s Susan Thomas, someone I actually interviewed one time, she said, You’ve got two years on one most, so use it ear to mouth ratio, right? Use your ears twice as much as your mouth. Listen twice as much as you talk, and that is how you create authentic connections, right? But those those people you’re talking about that are looking over your shoulder for the next one. I call those hunters, right? So they’re out hunting today. They’re going to eat today. They’re going to catch their prey. But the thing is, if you keep hunting and hunting and hunting, you run out of food supply, right? If you’re a fox and you raid every chicken coop in the neighborhood, eventually you run out of chicken coops and that’s what happens to those people. But if you’re a farmer and you go out and plant seeds build relationships, you might not eat that night. But long term you will have crops that you harvest over and over and over again.
Stone Payton: [00:09:53] Did you really write this thing in 30 days?
Monica Parkin: [00:09:56] I did. I did. But I kind of like, I kind of cheated, not cheated. But some of it was old speeches that I’d done, and I didn’t write on a typewriter. So what I did is when I’m driving my kids to school because we’ve got a long ride to school. I would just record myself on my phone just like I’m talking to you. I have an idea pop into my head. I would record it. I’d go home, run it through transcription software and then edit it for an hour. And then, OK, boom, there’s one chapter let’s do the next one.
Stone Payton: [00:10:21] That’s actually it doesn’t. Does it come across as cheating at all? To me, in fact, it’s not a formal, you know, published revenue stream for our studio. Partners, you know, we’re in several markets and we talk about teaming up with us and all that, but we’ve had several of our studio partners do what you’re describing for people. They’ll come in the studio and just kind of just kind of wrap, right? You know, just get kind of get there. We call it first draft and they’ll just sort of get their thoughts out and then we’ll have it transcribed from forum. And in some of them will go from there to writing, and some of them will get somebody that’s really can write, I think. Well, I mean, I guess I’m a little biased. I’m a big fan of audio. I just think there’s so much you can do with it, what you have it. But I think I think that’s brilliant.
Monica Parkin: [00:11:01] Thanks. Yeah. And I’m an audible learner more than I am a reader. Like, even when I go through books, I prefer to listen to books and to type out books. So but that let me just get through like get my ideas out and then I still have a lot of editing to do in print. But I could I could spend, you know, half an hour on my drive banging out a chapter, talking about what I want to talk about and then come home and spend an hour putting in punctuation and cutting this and moving this and moving it around and making it pretty. But I got the ideas out without being impeded by because otherwise I see, Oh, this should change. This is spelled wrong. And then I forget what I was talking about. But if I can get it out, then it’s easier.
Stone Payton: [00:11:36] Yeah, I think so, too. Now you enjoy this, this platform, you have your own show.
Monica Parkin: [00:11:42] Yes, I do. Yes, yes.
Stone Payton: [00:11:45] And is it an interview show? Is is it you sharing ideas? Yeah. Tell us a little
Monica Parkin: [00:11:50] Bit about your show. Yeah, it’s called. It’s called juggling without balls. So it’s about women that juggle multiple responsibilities that that whole kind of like me, a mortgage broker. I have a business at a veterinary hospital, you know, I homeschool a kid and it got all these things going on. So it’s for women that that are really struggling with trying to juggle all those different responsibilities. And it is in interviews and interview style, you know, someone that’s overcome a big obstacle or how they manage those difficulties or that’s done a big career change later in life, talking about how they did that pivot right and what the silver lining was and what they do differently, all that kind of stuff that we all want to know about these people
Stone Payton: [00:12:28] And what a great show concept. That’s a fascinating listen that I absolutely will. We have a show here in the Woodstock studio. It’s just called women in business. I think your title is way cooler. It maybe we ought to have a different, a different person producing it. But I will tell you, I am just over. I just can’t believe the women that come here and talk about their personal lives and their business lives and what they’ve accomplished. You just and the other thing in all of our media properties, I’m sure your experience in this, you really do get to build some great relationships and have really good conversations and genuinely get to know somebody when you just have a real conversation, you know, kind of like we’re having, right? You know, it’s X.
Monica Parkin: [00:13:15] Yeah, exactly. Just like we’re having right now, I’ve had so many relationships come out of those podcast interviews, and that was one of the reasons I started is there’s just so many women that I just want to get to know better. And I have daughters, so I kind of wanted to leave them this legacy of wisdom. Someday, when I’m not here, there’s this whole bank of podcasts that they can go back and listen to. But yeah, you’re creating a new relationship actually with every interview, aren’t you?
Stone Payton: [00:13:38] At least that’s been our experience. Well, congratulations on on your success and doing that. And again, I’m sure you’ve seen this and had this happen. I mean, it’s such a great way to serve other people, right? To give them a chance to share their story and talk about their work and you get to know them. And as it turns out, you know, serving folks is a pretty good business model.
Monica Parkin: [00:13:58] And you you nailed it. Exactly stone like that is the business model is just how can I be of service to you today, right? How can I use this analogy in my book where I talk about like, even if we live in a beautiful house, right? We built the most beautiful house. We keep the lawn immaculate. Everything’s amazing about it. If we look across the street and like our neighbor’s house is falling down or our town is falling down, then our property value goes down, right? So if our business is our house, if we don’t support the other businesses in our community, if we don’t support our own industry, then the value of our own business goes down too, right? And so because I’m in real estate, that’s the analogy that I use. But that’s why it’s so important that we don’t just look, how are we going to sell things? How are we going to make money? But how can we serve our community? How can we serve our industry even as a mortgage broker? Like, how can I help out my fellow brokers? How can I help out my mortgage industry? Because when it’s strong, my own business is strong in turn, and I don’t have to be an extrovert to do that. Just I just need to be me a man.
Stone Payton: [00:14:58] Well, speaking of analogies, you use a neighborhood analogy to that. You relate to networking and cultivating community. Can you speak to that a little bit more?
Monica Parkin: [00:15:10] Yeah, that’s actually the one that I was sort of just speaking about. But yeah, that same idea that you’re only as as strong as your neighborhood, right? So if you’re not, you know, if my neighbor across the street is broken his leg and he needs snow shovel, then I’m going to go over there and shovel the show. So I shovel, shovel snow. And then maybe next year when my car won’t start. Maybe he’ll come over and jump my battery, it’s the same thing with my business. If I reach out and help someone else in my community, I leave a great review. I share their post. I talk about the event that they have happening. It creates this feeling of reciprocity. There’s no expectation that they’re going to do something for me in return. But the reality is that, you know, people remember people who remember them and people like people who like them. So when you genuinely go out and do those things with no expectation in return, you are sort of growing your fictitious metaphorical neighborhood.
Stone Payton: [00:16:06] Well, and it does come back to you, but I’d say more than that. I think it comes back to you, you know, tenfold. Or it just seems like whatever your spiritual inclination is, that there’s there is something to this just getting out there and just doing some good out in the world. It comes back, doesn’t it?
Monica Parkin: [00:16:26] Yeah. And you know, you can feel it when someone’s doing something with an expectation as opposed to when someone isn’t like, Hey, if you do this thing for me, I’ll do this thing for you feels a lot different than just how can I help you today with no expectation, right? It feels different to you.
Stone Payton: [00:16:43] I call that and it probably came from my dad going tit for tat. Yeah, I don’t like that. I don’t, you know, I don’t either. Yeah, no. Just do it if you want to and thank you. And, you know, but no. Absolutely. Which, you know, here’s some very practical counsel that I don’t know if I if I saw it in the book or on your website or where. But you know, we could all benefit. Just don’t be a jerk.
Monica Parkin: [00:17:06] Right, right. Yeah, I heard this phrase once that if you meet three jerks in a day, you are actually the jerk. And it’s I think it’s true. You know, I used to be that person everywhere I went. Well, that drive thru person was really slow and that lady was rude. And but when I actually switched my own attitude off, like when I start extending people more grace and more kindness and more patience, all those jerks went away. Those people stop being jerks to me because the way that I responded was different. And you know, I my other business is in a large veterinary hospital. And when the staff wants to find a real estate agent or a new accountant or whatever, right, they start looking at the clientele that come in the door and they’ll say, Well, what about what about Bob? And someone will say, Nah, he is so mean to the receptionist. Last time we got his prescription wrong, he practically threw it in her face. Well, what about Bill? You know what? He’s so nice and he brings us cookies at Christmas. And yeah, you should use him. Like, you don’t realize the effect that your actions and your attitude actually have on your business that you think that you’re yelling at that poor kid in the drive thru isn’t going to affect your business, but they’re actually going to go home and tell their parents or tell their coworkers, and they’re going to make a purchasing decision based on how you behave that day.
Stone Payton: [00:18:22] And you are so right about that, and we see it over and over again. If you don’t mind, I’d like to shift the frame a little bit and this is incredibly helpful for me personally and I really think for for so many of our listeners who are out there and who need and want to. They are probably of our stripe, if you will, like they genuinely want to serve and all that. And you know, tomorrow night’s networking thing is a little intimidating and you know, they’re trying to figure that out. But I’d like to switch the frame on you a little bit and see if we if we can help a couple of other constituencies. One is the person who maybe doesn’t have to get out there and do a lot of networking out in the world for their business, but they do have to be productive, effective, efficient and get along with folks at their workplace. At the at the office. I got to believe so much of what you describe in this book and so much of your work. I bet it applies in that environment every bit as much, you know?
Monica Parkin: [00:19:18] For sure. Yeah, yeah. A couple of things come to mind. One is that listening piece, right? Listen more than you talk. Hear what your coworkers are saying to you to own your mistakes, right? Like, I have so much more respect for someone that says I made a mistake. I’m sorry. How can I fix it? Then the person that just tries to, well, it’s not my fault. It’s so-and-so’s fault, blah blah blah, right? Like that. That authenticity and that willingness to just hear another person’s side of things and then the communication piece right the the getting back to people right away, they’re responding and the setting expectations because you treat people how to treat you. So if you consistently, you know, maybe you allow people to text you at midnight on a Saturday night, if you respond every time, it’s not their fault that they’re doing it, you’ve taught them to do it and the same thing in the workplace. And then in terms of networking in the workplace and forming relationships, it’s it’s asking questions, you know? And more than you talk, you know, how how was your week? What was your family like? How can I be of service to you? Whether you’re a salaried employee or you’re self-employed, that is ultimately always the question How can I be of service to you? And that’s like you say, that comes back to you tenfold.
Stone Payton: [00:20:36] And then one other group I’d like to try to get a little bit of perspective on or four, and I think you’re the ideal person to do it, not only being the person with the expertize on the content, but you’re also living in all of these roles. If I’m trying to build a culture, if I, you know, I think you mentioned you’ve got a business, a veterinary hospital, what can or should we as people who run companies, what should or could we be doing to create an environment that will allow an introvert and everybody to flourish with regard to some of these topics we’re talking about?
Monica Parkin: [00:21:15] Yeah, I would say celebrating people’s authentic self. You know, there’s this belief that you come and you show up and you have to be a certain person and allowing people to be who they are. For years, I didn’t show who I really was because I thought I would be judged for that. And when I finally got to a place where it was safe to be me, like quirky little weird me who happens to also love goats and chickens and like to embrace my quirkiness. And and when you embrace your quirkiness and you get vulnerable, it gives all the people around you the freedom to do the same. And so really, it’s that leading by example when you embrace your inner quirky or your inner nerd or whoever you are. It gives all the people in your workplace the safety to do that. And you know, when you get vulnerable, it gives them freedom to get vulnerable to. And often someone hears something in your story that that they wouldn’t have heard if you didn’t if you didn’t share it. And it creates this, this workplace that feels safe and where people are welcome to be whoever they are.
Stone Payton: [00:22:14] Well, I’m so, I’m so glad I asked in creating an environment where everybody feels like they can embrace and celebrate their quirkiness. But but I think the key to what you’re describing is the mechanism the to do that you’ve got to lead by example. You can’t just say we are a place that does this right. You can’t just put it on. You got to be the one that that embraces and celebrates your own quirkiness. So they’ve got a living, breathing model of that.
Monica Parkin: [00:22:37] Exactly. I remember when I first started out and I was buying leads and I was advertising and I was doing all this stuff and nothing was working. And we have this forum in. It’s called women in the mortgage industry, where you can go to other women that have, you know, been in your role before and ask for advice and. And so I called up the first one. I’m like, So what do I do? And they’re like, Just just be you like, just be your authentic self. And I didn’t like that answer, right? So. So then I found the next one. Same answer. I phone the next one. Just be you. And I’m like, This is a load of crap. Like, they obviously want all my business. Like why like people have been telling me this all my life. This is what they tell kids in school. Be yourself. But then I sat with it for a while and I and I thought, You know what? Like, what is it going to cost me just to try it? And so I started to just be me, like not to hide those parts of me, like my little inner nerd that loves these little computer programs or buy me out in the barn with my goats, like all the parts of me that I thought were not appropriate for business. We’re actually the time that my business took off when I started to share those things because people could then relate to me in a way that they hadn’t been able to relate to me before.
Stone Payton: [00:23:39] You were so upbeat and you have such genuine, authentic answers to these questions that I’m asking that have real depth. And so I see that you probably are quite accustomed to to being inspired and sharing things that are inspiring to other people. So you are inspirational? Yeah, that’s a word, OK? But sometimes, I mean, you’ve got to run out of gas sometimes. And when you do, where do you go? You know, how do you refresh? How do you kind of get get charged your batteries? And where do you go to get inspired?
Monica Parkin: [00:24:15] Yeah, well, that’s the beauty of it. I used to just go hibernate, like, sit under the covers with a book. Nobody talked to me, take the phone off the hook. But now I reach out to all those connections I’ve built, right? That’s where I get inspired now is is in those connections and those conversations. All the things that I used to avoid are now. The things that actually bring me energy and inspiration and joy is those connections and an opportunities like, I don’t actually think I’m going to do this and I’m going to do this anymore. I just sit back and I wait for an opportunity to come by and I go, Wow, that looks really exciting. I’m going to give that a try, and I just keep an open mind and and keep those keep those lines of communications open with with those people I’ve connected to because that’s actually where I despite being an introvert, that’s actually now where I get my energy from is from the people around me.
Stone Payton: [00:25:02] After 20 minutes on the phone with you, I should have anticipated that answer and it makes all the sense in the world. After getting to know you a little bit of it talking with you, you actually are getting your energy now from what at one time was maybe a little awkward, intimidating and all that. That’s wow. That’s fantastic. So what’s next? Is there another book in you? You’re going to do? You’re going to keep speaking and yeah, what’s on the horizon?
Monica Parkin: [00:25:27] Yeah, I don’t think I have another book. I mean, but my editor says there’s five more in my head somewhere. So I guess I just need to maybe sit still for long enough and see if they come. Give me your turn on the recorder on the drive to school and see what comes out, but at this time, I’m just really enjoying getting out and talking about the book and doing some speaking engagements, talking to businesses about how they can help those introverted employees, how they can improve their culture, how people can be more authentic and be of service to the people around them. And, you know, reap the rewards from that, not with an expectation of reward, but to just enjoy, enjoy the reciprocity that comes from from being of service to others.
Stone Payton: [00:26:04] Yeah. All right. Before we wrap, let’s make sure that our listeners may know where to get their hands on this book and then whatever you feel like is appropriate in terms of if they’d like to have a conversation or learn more about your other work, whether it’s a LinkedIn or a website or an email. But let’s leave them with some points of contact.
Monica Parkin: [00:26:23] Yeah, for sure. And I’m sure some of these things will be in the show notes. But the book is called Overcoming Awkward and Introverts Guide to Networking, Marketing and Sales. You can find it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble. It’s in Kindle paperback, and the Audible version is going to be out in about two weeks. I recorded that myself, so it took a little longer to get it together and then the easiest way to reach me is just at my website, which is Monica Park and Dossier, and you’ll find all my contact info in there. I’m also on LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter. I won’t give you those full handles, but I’m easy to find Monica Perkin. Look for the crazy lady. I’m not hard to miss.
Stone Payton: [00:27:00] Well, Monica Parken, author of Overcoming Awkward The Introverts Guide to Networking, Marketing and Sales. It has been an absolute delight having you on the show this afternoon. Thank you so much.
Monica Parkin: [00:27:13] Likewise, Stone, I’ve actually gotten a lot out of this as well and your conversation, and I’m grateful for the opportunity and I appreciate your your little stories that you’ve woven into this interview. Also, thank you for that.
Stone Payton: [00:27:25] Absolutely my pleasure. All right. Until next time, this is Stone Payton for our guests today, Monica Park and everyone here at the Business RadioX family saying we’ll see you next time on workplace wisdom.