Talking to People About Your Business: How I Came Out of My Shell

On 3/14, Tanya Smith and Tai Goodwin interviewed me on their BlogTalk Radio show, Your First 20 Clients for a segment, How to Talk to Strangers (and Friends) About Your New Business.

This blog post is the second in a series based on that show (I’m transcribing it one question at a time).

Today’s question is from 7:12 to 10:32 in the hour-long audio of the show.

Tanya: Can you tell us a little about your background and how you got to be so wise about this topic?

Diane: Oh, so wise . . .  with age comes wisdom, right?  Well, I used to not be so wise about it.

I went to college and got an engineering degree and started work right out of college as an engineer.  I hate to say it, but engineers are not very known for being conversational or making small talk. I was really no exception.  I would say really stupid things, trying to connect with people and it just would come out all awkward.

Over time . . . probably the biggest thing was in my mid-20’s my husband and I got in the Amway business and that forced me out of my shell.  I had to be able to talk with people and to connect with people.  So, it was a great experience for that.  We also went to seminars and things where we learned a little bit about people skills.

And then over the years, after I had children and had to deal with kids and had more things in common with more people, that’s what I’ve found to be the real secret.  It’s finding things you have in common.  That way you can build upon what you have in common.  So, it’s just, you know, with experience and realizing that everybody is just another person.  And there are many things that people have in common from the poorest to the richest, from a blue collar worker to a professional—there’s still many things in common.

Tai: I’m so glad you shared that, Diane, because so many people think that you have to be born an extrovert and know exactly what to say and be super charming from the beginning in order to have really good conversations and good networking skills. And just to know that you had that background and you had to overcome that I think is a great story.

And, you’re not the first person I’ve heard attribute their experience with network marketing and direct sales with helping them come out of their shell.  Now, I know there’s some iffy products out there and some iffy programs, however, a lot of those programs have a structure that really allows people to learn how to connect to other people and really hone their selling skills.

Diane: Right. And even they’ll have suggested reading.  I remember the first time I read How to Win Friends and Influence People, I thought, “Why don’t they teach this stuff in high school?”  The people skills are so important.

Tai: And that book’s been around forever!

Diane: Oh, it has.  In fact, I thought I wanted to do something that was shorter because I know that people typically don’t like to spend a lot of time reading.  So, I decided I wanted a shorter book that focused on some basic skills and even some not-so-basic skills.  But something not too long.

Tai: And you have quite a few good skills and tips in your book.  Your book is very succinct but it is also chock full of some really good examples and really good tips.

Diane: Well, thanks!

Tanya: I can’t wait to pick it up!

Diane’s book, Small Talk Big Results: Chit Chat Your Way to Success is available on


About Diane Windingland
I speak for organizations that want their people to have better, more profitable conversations.

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