Don’t like talking? Maybe you’re a writer…
Does talking cause trepidation? Chatting make you wanna chunder? Fear not! There’s a good chance if you don't like talking a fearless writer lurks within you!
During networking meetings, I usually hang back, listen, and absorb what everyone has to say. This isn’t some humblebrag, but an observation. On the odd occasion someone gabbing away notices my deafening silence, they ask, “You haven’t said much, why is that?”
I reply: “I’m a writer, not a talker.”
For many soloists, a one-on-one conversation is more frightening than death itself. (I loathe imagining the tightening in one’s chest when someone utters the words ‘public speaking.’) Though as anyone who’s written…anything…will realise, your written word will find more eyes than speaking to any person or group in real time.
No awkward phase goes undocumented
Think about it this way: your high school English exam? Dozens of people read that. Memos, blog posts, tweets – look at your analytics. Hundreds, if not thousands of people have read what you wrote!
"Words do not cling to air, but they will grab hold of paper (or pixels) for dear life."
Even so, that feeling of deep dread never struck just as I hit “send” or an invigilator announced “pens down.” (Okay, maybe a little bit on that last one.)
If you don’t like talking to people solo, maybe writing is your bag. Writing puts a barrier between you and your recipient, which makes communicating that little bit easier.
If you can talk, you can write (even if no one hears)
One of my favourite books on writing is Joel Saltzman’s If You Can Talk, You Can Write! Many inward looking people place a premium on those inner monologues ruminating through their brains most of the time (myself included). One brushstroke in the art of writing is freeing that “talk” from your brain-cage and into the written word. Even if you don’t like talking, you are still talking to yourself.
Somewhere, beyond the screen
One fear factor around talking is that there are no do-overs. No red squiggly lines when you get it wrong. The only correction for incorrect speech is more talking. “Erm, I didn’t mean to say that. What I meant to say was…” You know the drill.
Writing feels liberating for introverted people because we can perfect it. If you feel trepidation speaking, turn your inner-talk into outer writing. This might come in the form of:
- Informal, light-hearted client emails.
- A regular newsletter.
- Forum posts – like right here!
- Blog posts on your site, or as a guest.
- Chats on Skype, text, or Whatsapp.
- A Facebook or LinkedIn comment, or tweet.
- A handwritten note to say thanks.
Writing on paper is more memorable – by the nature of the medium – than talking ever will be. Words do not cling to air, but they will grab hold of paper (or pixels) for dear life.
Get started – right now!
If you are a writer and not a talker, grab hold of your inner voice and push it through your fingers. Write a comment, write an email, and write anything! Cultivate that inner writer – it may be your greatest business strength!