EP7 – Communication style on social plus communicating in social situations with guest Julie Crenshaw

Hello and welcome to self startups. So today I’m going to be talking about communicating. Communication is key in business. I’m also going to be talking to Julie Crenshaw about communicating during an in-person networking event a little bit later on and the etiquette of communicator.

But before that, let’s talk a bit about business communication in general. Now this applies as much to our communication online, on social and in our direct messenger apps, as it does at an in-person networking event, I was reading a thread post this morning by some cool hip happening. Twitterati about how different the social media platforms are and how they wouldn’t be caught dead on LinkedIn.

It was all about how a person who spends time on LinkedIn is not the same as the person that spends time on Twitter. Part of that is due to how each platform’s algorithm works. And part of it is due to the type of personality who likes that medium of communication. What type of communicator are you in your business?

Do you show up as yourself or someone you think you should be? The thread. I was reading mentioned how many LinkedIn posts read like curriculum vitae, which is not at all, how most of us speak in our normal daily life, but LinkedIn earns its money from recruiters. And so the priority in feeds is biased towards recruitment and human resources.

What they do, they do well, it doesn’t seem to matter which social media platform you’re on at the moment. You can’t stop the spammers and the pushy sales in direct messages. This communication method can annoy and harm a business’s prospects. I often catch myself wondering if that person would ever walk up to someone in-person and talked to them in that way.

Why your business communication style matters

Maybe they would maybe they’re that sort of person that you try to avoid at a party. Think about the way that you communicate with your audience. And please remember they are real people who may or may not buy from you purely based on the way that you communicate with them. So, as I mentioned, next, [00:02:00] I’m going to be talking to Julia Crenshaw, your conversation expert.

She helps entrepreneurs and future leaders build communication skills. She has a course called the art of conversation. And in September last year she published a book called Navigating and avoiding awkward conversations. How to speak to anyone about anything. It’s a lively conversation. Listen in.

Annette Clubley: Right. So, hello, Julie. Thank you very much for taking the time to come and talk to me today. I’m really super excited to hear what you’ve got to say, because from what we’ve talked about, it’s going to be a really interesting topic. So today I’m talking to Julie Crenshaw, who is a life coach and her company is called your conversation expert.

And we’re going to be talking about conversations at social events and what I immediately think of networking and how much I hate networking.

Julie Crenshaw: Absolutely. I’m excited to get into it.

Annette Clubley: So we talked a little bit before we started recording about how people approach conversations at [00:03:00] social events, whether that’s a social social event or whether it’s a business social event.

But I think quite a lot of people that are listening in will be interested in it from a business point of view, because we see networking as an opportunity to meet new people who have the potential to become clients.

Julie Crenshaw: Absolutely. Yes, absolutely. And it can feel like a lot of pressure Get to know them quickly. And then how do I move on to the next person that I would like to get to know and network network with quickly.

Annette Clubley: Exactly. Exactly. Without being rude. How do I leave that conversation and move on to the next one? Yeah, exactly. And also, how do we handle our own awkwardness about broaching these conversations.

Julie Crenshaw: Absolutely. Yes.

Annette Clubley: So come on, give us the magic

Julie Crenshaw: answer!

A lot to unpack there. I can just dive right in. Sure. So. Okay. So I have a guide that I think would be especially [00:04:00] useful for your audience, because I know that your audience deals a lot with the health and wellness profession and trying to start up their own businesses and to network with new potential clients.

Communicating at social events

And one of the things that comes with that territory, unfortunately, for some people is the need to do these quick socializations where you’re getting to know someone quickly trying to tell them about you, trying to learn about them, trying to make a connection, and then trying to move on. And a guide is called seven tips to nail your next social event.

And that is pretty much what the guide is designed for. It’s about how do you greet somebody in a way that. Is warm that makes them feel connected to you, that makes them excited to want to get to know you better. And it goes through how to start a conversation. So I have a spreadsheet in there.

I’m a spreadsheet kind of girl, and I love concrete [00:05:00] examples. I’m that person that if you give me theory then my response is well that’s great, but I need you to tell me exactly what you mean. How do you want me to implement this? So I’m very particular when I’m creating these guides and creating all of my material that I’m giving people concrete examples.

Say this, not that, ask the question this way, don’t ask it that way and explaining why I’m definitely a person that if you can explain why I need to do something a certain way, I’m going to remember it better. I’m going to buy into it. I’m going to implement it better. And so I actually have a column of why this approach is better than the other approach.

And I’ll give one example. So. Something that you might commonly ask someone when you’re trying to get to know them is what are your hobbies. But the problem with that question is that when you ask somebody what their hobbies are, there’s a very [00:06:00] narrow set of things that come to mind. You might think of a hobby as crafting or playing tennis, or you might have a very specific idea of what constitutes a hobby. So when you ask someone, what are your hobbies? They are very likely to draw a blank and not feel like they have a great way to answer your question.

Annette Clubley: Okay.

Julie Crenshaw: They might start stumbling and you know, and the conversation can get halted a little bit.

So, so in that example, my suggestion is to ask instead, how do you like to spend your time? Because you could answer that question any way in the world. You might like to spend your time reading. You might like to spend your time playing at the park with your children. You might like to spend your time volunteering at the local soup kitchen.

So there’s so many different ways a person could answer that question and really the ball will just roll and roll and roll because now they [00:07:00] feel like they have a little bit more leeway to answer that authentically, instead of trying to form their answer into something that they feel like you’re, you’re asking.

So that’s just one example of how to ask questions. I have several examples in the guide and then the other. You know how to answer the question? So I have the, so I have one section that’s how to ask a really great question, and then I have the next section that if you are asked those exact same questions, how could you answer them?

So my day job, I’m a physical therapist. And if you were to ask me, you know, what is your job? And I just say, I’m a physical therapist. And I can just stop. And that was my whole answer. You know, I’ve kind of killed the conversation a little bit. That person doesn’t have, you know, anywhere to go from there with it.

But if I give them what I do and then try to explain a little bit more [00:08:00] about why I enjoyed it. Well, I’m a physical therapist. I work primarily with the geriatric population and I just love it so much because I get to go into people’s homes and really help them where they’re having the problem. If you know, it’s, it’s a really rewarding profession, I’ve fleshed it out a little bit better.

And given, given them something more to work with so that the conversation can continue. So the guide just goes into a lot of really practical tips to keep the ball rolling. And then if you sign up for the guide, you will automatically get my email series. That is a, it’s a video series. And that’s where I go deep dive into the mindset behind, you know, why these suggestions are what they are.

Why small talk matters

And, you know I think one of them specifically, I know you had mentioned was small talk and not really buying into why small talk is [00:09:00] important and you would really rather skip past it. And that’s something that I hear over and over and over. I don’t get it. I feel like it’s a waste of time. I feel like I’m being fake when I do this, I don’t get the point.

I just want to get to the real stuff. And in the, in that video series, I really do a deep dive on why the small talk is vitally important, that process. And what’s funny is I tried. I knew it because I knew from from my physical therapy background, I have a lot of classes, social classes, psychological classes, neurological classes that I take.

I knew why the small talk was important. But when I was trying to go and find a couple of just quick references of why is small talk important. All I was getting on Google was it’s important for your career. It’s important to make [00:10:00] connections it’s important, you know, for all of these social and career reasons, but it was not nowhere on Google was I finding the real psychological reasons of why small talk is important and to avoid getting too far into it. It’s, it’s a huge part of learning to trust somebody and being able to assess, whether that person is trustworthy or not, whether or not you feel comfortable making a connection with that person because it’s, do you know them or do you feel like you don’t know them?

Stranger danger, right. So so yeah, that’s, I’ve talked for a lot, but that’s that guide, I think specifically it would be so helpful because it dives into a lot of specifics.

Annette Clubley: I absolutely love that. Yeah. Yeah. I am the sort of person who needs to know the why as well. Otherwise I won’t implement it if I’m not really sure why I’m doing this, I won’t stick with it.

I won’t stick with it consistently and I won’t apply it [00:11:00] because I don’t understand the reason. And obviously, you know, from a sales funnel, customer journey side of things, I understand the need to get to know, like, and trust somebody. And I can see how that would play into that. You know, I could see how small talk in an, in an networking event would help you to build that sort of rapport with a person before you then move on to the practical items. I can see how that would work. I think that I love the fact that you use the examples, because I think often I use examples a lot in my own course material, because I think people need those real stories and then they listen to the story and they go, yes, I understand that now and I know how I can apply it to myself.

Julie Crenshaw: Exactly.

Annette Clubley: If they can do it, I can do it almost.

Julie Crenshaw: Right. If you can give me one really solid example, I can use that and then create my own further examples. But I need a really good example to start [00:12:00] with so that I at least understand exactly what you mean. I’m, I’m that type a person I want to know exactly what do you mean when you say to expand more on who you are? That’s great. Give me an example.

Annette Clubley: Yes, yes, yes, absolutely. And you could take that back to yourself because you say you’re a life coach. Well, you know, life coach, to me basically doesn’t mean that much. I don’t really know who you work with when you say that, I don’t really know what you do when you say that it could be any one of a multitude of things, you know, I’ve got absolutely no idea based on just that two woods. And I can see that if somebody walked up to me at a party and said, well, what do you do? and I said, I’m a life coach. They would then have to unpack that somehow, you know, they would either go and they would either have a preconceived idea about this is what it is like the physical therapist or you know, they would, they would just, you know, sort of be, Ooh, I don’t know. And they would [00:13:00] move off and onto another part of the conversation. I could see how that would be quite difficult to make, but it’s, you know, it’s more to it. Isn’t there. When you then go on to outline what you do really helps the person understand what it’s all about. Sorry, carry on.

Julie Crenshaw: Well, I was just going to say also they need to know, am I the right person for them? Because I can be knowledgeable. But if, if we don’t mesh very well, then I’m not the person for them. Maybe after a while we, we talk and they think this girl’s really annoying. She talks too much. She’s not the one for me.

I need to go find somebody who’s going to be a lot more relaxed, calm and you know that our personalities need to match. So, you know, people are looking for someone who is highly knowledgeable and someone that they can trust to give them the results they say they can. But at the end of the day, you need to be [00:14:00] somebody that they want to work with.

And they, you can’t know if you’re a person that they’re going, they can’t learn from you. If they don’t enjoy being around you, listening to you, if they don’t enjoy your content. So at a very baseline. They need to understand they can tolerate you at a bare minimum. And if they really like you, hopefully.

And another thing that I talk about in the guide and in the video series is to keep in mind, I know this kind of comes back to the mindset piece that we, as humans are a herd species, and it’s so easy for us to get caught up in these really. You know, higher thought processes and to really deep dive deeply into this tactic or that, but at the end of the day, we are a herd species.

And as a herd species, the number one thing that we are seeking is safety and there, because there’s [00:15:00] safety in numbers and because a herd species c annot survive without the herd. So, so at a very basic basic level, we’re trying to assess is this somebody that I’m safe with? IIt may not be what we’re consciously thinking, but through our assessment process of that other person and through the small talk, we’re trying to decide if this person feels safe, is this person going to take my money and run?

Is this person really interested in me or do they actually care about my outcomes? If I have a problem, is this person going to help me with this problem? Or say, well, you’ve already paid for the service. Sorry you call this number that doesn’t work. You know, they want to know, are they safe with you? Can they trust you?

And they can’t assess that if they can’t get to know some basic things about you and just kind of think that you’re a normal person, maybe you’ve got a spouse, children, may be rescued dogs, you know, [00:16:00] anything. It is about you that helps them to understand at a more real level, who you are, what you’re about, what your day-to-day life looks like, so that they can then assess.

Is this somebody that I feel comfortable putting my money into their hands, putting my future into their hands, trusting them with this thing that’s so important to me. So I think that’s just something to really keep in mind when you say that the small talk is pointless. It’s absolutely foundational to learning if somebody is someone that you can trust and somebody that you want to spend time with and collaborate.

Annette Clubley: Okay. Okay. That makes total sense to me. Yeah. Total sense to me. Okay. Really interesting. So now this, what we talked about today, the small talk and the, you know, conversation at a social event, it’s just one tiny, tiny, tiny piece of what you teach isn’t it? Because..

Julie Crenshaw: Yes.

Annette Clubley: Tell us about the book, because I think people will be really interested to hear [00:17:00] about that.

Julie Crenshaw: Oh, wonderful. Yes. So I just published a book it’s called navigating and avoiding awkward conversations. How to speak to anybody about anything. And the first part of the book, really deep dives, a lot into this conversation.

1 0 1. Issues, you know, speaking with the right volume, how to use correct words. There’s a lot of use this word instead of that word, use this phrase, instead of that phrase instead of saying, you know, she’s always late, you can say she’s often late. Things that help you to build trust because you’re being more accurate.

Some basic socializing. How do you deal with. I call the monologuers. The people who talk the talk and talk and you can’t get away from them. The guide actually does go over how to wrap up a conversation and move on by the way. Cause I know that’s a really important thing in a great conversation with somebody and you’re like, okay, that’s great. I have five [00:18:00] other people I was trying to get to. How do I stop this conversation and start the next one? So that the guide does go over that the book goes over lots of things. How do you gracefully handle someone who’s trying to gossip to you about somebody else? How do you gracefully handle someone? Who’s just sitting there with a list of complaints and you’re trying to figure out, you know, how to steer the conversation in a different direction. How do you deal with when somebody’s yelling at you? So the second part of the book is called dealing with conflict and it goes really deep into. You know, why a person might be approaching you in a certain way, really making sure that you’ve got your head in the right place so that you can deal appropriately with this difficult situation and you can emotionally detach from it so that you can handle it better.

Difficult conversations

I go really deep into your fight or flight response and how you can modulate your [00:19:00] fight or flight response. So that you can help to calm yourself down so that you can be effective in this difficult situation. The last part of the book is called caregiver burden, illness, and death. And it goes into how do you have these really difficult conversations with people where I hear people tell me a lot.

I want to be able to comfort someone that’s going through a hard time, but I don’t know what to say. So I just don’t say anything because I’m worried about making it worse. And and I totally get that. And I respect that the problem is that when you don’t say anything. You’re that other person can feel very isolated.

They can feel very rejected, they can feel very depressed. And so, so that section of the book helps you to really understand do’s and don’ts, don’t say this over here, this is a wonderful thing to say [00:20:00] and the why behind it, why the things on the don’t list are on the don’t list. And that section even goes into some really difficult topics like cancer. Alzheimer’s you know, a lot of topics that tend to make people feel super uncomfortable. And although that’s not primarily what your audience is expecting to come up in conversation, it often will come up in conversation when you’re least expecting it. You’re networking with somebody. Hi, how are you?

And they just start telling you. All these things that have happened to them and you’re sitting there going, oh my gosh, I was not expecting you to say that. And I have no idea what to say to respond to it. So that section is to really help you to have a connected conversation. And that’s, that’s what I, you know, consistently say that my goal is to help people have [00:21:00] connected conversations, to be able to network with people in a way where they really connect with that other person. To be able to deal with conflict in a way where that person might hug you at the end of it and say, I’m so sorry. I was so upset. Thank you for being so patient with me, which had happened to me tons. I actually I didn’t get a chance to tell you this, but I worked in retail for seven years while I was in college.

Conflict management

So I have a lot of that, both sides of the counter experience. I was actually a certified bra fitter for most of that time. And you can only imagine the conversations that come up. I had women who were in their ninth month of pregnancy, women who had survived breast cancer women who were trying to desperately find this one, exact bra for their 95 year old mother who is home bound and, you know, so a lot of stress, fear, worry, anxiety, a lot of things that you just. You’re like, I just came here to [00:22:00] blow out, you know, I was going to ring up some shirts and shoes, you know, and then you wind up having to have all these conversations. And then I actually did work collections for about 18 months in that time as well.

And so my conflict management skills reached a plus with people who, you know, they answered the phone yelling and you that’s where you’re starting, is answering the phone, yelling and, and bringing it down from there. And how do you take somebody who starts out yelling at you and really address what’s truly bothering them and truly overwhelming them and be able to, be able to connect with them instead of yelling back, instead of dismissing them, instead of telling them you’re being dramatic, get over it. How do you know, how do you handle that in such a way that they come away from it saying, thank you so much. I really appreciate you. I’m so sorry. I [00:23:00] yelled. You know, so that’s that y’all

Annette Clubley: Yes, yes, I can see where you get your awkward conversations from and, you know, that’s an awkward conversation for every business person, isn’t it? You know?

Julie Crenshaw: Yes. Yes.

Annette Clubley: You don’t want to have to phone somebody up and follow up on an invoice. You don’t want to have that kind of conversation that makes it very difficult. But being able to turn around a conversation where somebody immediately picks up the phone and is yelling and is unhappy about something can actually be, give you the most amazing customer service experience and can actually make a huge difference to your business. Being able to handle that kind of conversation. You can turn that customer around and they can become your biggest fan because they really love the way that you’ve handled it.

Julie Crenshaw: Yes!

Annette Clubley: Rather than, you know, the fact that they had this complaint in the first place.

I think that can be super valuable. So, yeah. Yeah. So a lot of that comes from our discomfort. Doesn’t it? The small talk and the not being able to get away from people because you don’t want to be seen as [00:24:00] rude and you don’t want to be disliked because you’ve been perceived as rude, the awkward conversation where somebody is yelling at you and you don’t want to respond to that in the way that you’re very tempted to when you want that conversation around again, that’s because of your feeling of I want to be liked. I want to be accepted, isn’t it? Yeah. Yeah, exactly. And those deeper conversations with people where they know what I mean, where they are ill, where they, you know, they are suffering in some sort of way and you want to be able to connect with them and you want them to feel like they’ve been heard at the end of that conversation. And how you handle that in the best way possible at that moment, you know, sometimes people just need to talk right then and there and they just need to get it out, then it’s out and then they can move forward. Don’t they?. Yeah. Super interesting. I mean, you could apply that in all areas of life can’t you, you can apply conversations happen everywhere.

And while you were talking, I was thinking about conversations with children because of course you’re almost told to [00:25:00] that your conversation with a child in terms of their behavior, rather than in terms of who they are. So be careful of your labeling and be careful of calling them something, rather than saying, I don’t like the way you did this.

That’s that’s immediately come to mind when you were talking about, you know, don’t use this phrase, use another phrase instead, and I think that’s you know super useful. In every relationship, whether it’s with a spouse or whether it’s with children, whether it’s with a customer or, whoever it’s with.

So thank you so, so much for joining me today. I just, I think we could just keep talking couldn’t we.

Julie Crenshaw: Yeah. I could talk about this forever. It says something I feel really passionate about. For sure.

Annette Clubley: Break it up into multiple episodes.

Julie Crenshaw: Yes. I’d be happy to come back. If people want me and ask answer other questions different ones.,

Annette Clubley: We might be going to take you up on that. Definitely. So where is the best place for people to find you.[00:26:00]

Julie Crenshaw: My personal website is yourconversationexpert.com and that’s where you find the guide and links to the books. So that would be a really great place to start. You can also find links to all of my socials. I’m currently the most active on. Instagram, which is my handle is just @yourconversationexpert so people can follow me there.

You’re going to get there. You can get a wide variety. I love to do reels. I love to a lot of just inspirational quotes. I’ve put up a lot of just quick bite-size pieces of information there. But you can also sign up for my newsletter on my website and I give kind of a weekly breakdown. Here’s the articles that I’ve written.

Here’s the videos that I’ve done. Here’s all the highlights, you know, so you don’t miss anything. So that’s another great option. So yourconversationexpert.com is kind of that first stop.

Annette Clubley: Perfect. Perfect. Well, once again, thank you very, very much for joining me. I really appreciate it. It’s been super interesting to meet you and to hear about what you did [00:27:00] and yeah, I will. I will. I’ll be back in touch shortly, but thank you very much.

Julie Crenshaw: Absolutely. Thank you for having me. This is great.

Get in touch with Julie at https://yourconversationexpert.com/ or on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/yourconversationexpert/ or buy Julie’s book on Amazon.