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Ideas in the Wild: How Nick Shelton Aims To Help Introverts Go from Wallflowers to Networking All-Stars

Many of us know this feeling: you’ve been invited to a high-level event. The room is filled with fascinating people, and you know you want to be in their orbit. The problem is, you have no idea how to get there. So instead, you find the nearest chair and stay put for the next two hours.

If you’re introverted, shy, or socially awkward, this scenario probably feels familiar.

Social discomfort shouldn’t stop professionals from making connections, succeeding in business, or upgrading their life and lifestyle. That’s why Nick Shelton wrote An Introvert’s Guide to World Domination — to teach others how to do this, and navigate social events with ease.

Nick speaks from firsthand experience. After a lifetime of shyness, he’s ditched the lonely chair and made introversion his greatest strength. He knows his readers can too. I recently caught up with Nick to learn what inspired him to write the book and his favorite idea he shared.

What happened that made you decide to write the book? What was the exact moment when you realized these ideas needed to get out there?

I had been coaching shy, introverted and socially awkward people for years on communication, networking and confidence. I’d given speeches about it and developed an online course as well. One day after speaking on this topic, several people came up and said “I’d like to get your book. Where can I find it?” I told them “I suppose I better write a book.” And they said “Please do.”

I went home and thought about it. It occurred to me that there are a lot of people who prefer to get their information through books. I also happen to be one of those people. I start off by getting a book, and if I like it, I explore the subject further.

The good thing was, I knew exactly what I wanted to say. So I simply sat down and wrote exactly the way I would speak to a friend because the purpose of the book is to help a friend or a future friend that I simply haven’t met yet, right?

So many people consider themselves weak at communicating, making connections, being comfortable in social situations, finding mentors, or upgrading their peer circle. I felt if I could get my book out and in front of those people, it could really have an impact.

From the speaking and coaching I’ve done, I’ve seen the transformation this information can have on people’s lives and it’s simply amazing. It all comes down to connection really, there is nothing more important than actually being able to authentically connect with people while feeling calm, confident, and approachable when you do it.

I wrote the book because I wanted to express to the reader that my biggest purpose in life is to show that it is possible to be an introvert and be wildly successful in a world that’s built by and for extroverts without compromising your integrity or your energy — so, without burning out. I want to show introverts a way to access their best life and upgrade their lives and lifestyles through communication and networking techniques specifically designed for people like us.

What’s your favorite specific, actionable idea in the book?

My favorite specific, actionable idea in the book is a way for a person to instantly make themselves look, calm, confident and approachable in any social setting.

It’s a move I call “Duke Cookie Face.”

When it comes to confidence, body language is key (even if you don’t feel it on the inside) and it makes a HUGE difference in how you are received by those around you.

Here’s how it works. Think of a duke or duchess — a noble person. How would they sit? You’re not the king, so you don’t have the stress and worries of running stuff, but you’re still pretty high up there — so that’s how you’re going to sit. You’re important! Good posture, but not stiff.

Then, there’s your face. Imagine: you arrive at your best friend’s house, walk in the door, and are hit with the smell of fresh-baked cookies. You love cookies, and you know they’re going to offer you some. So, your facial expression would be “I’m about to be offered some cookies. Cookies are coming.” It’s a smile from within. That’s the look you’re going for.

Put those two ideas together and you have “Duke Cookie Face.” This easy move makes an immediate impact. Master it, and I promise you’ll draw warm attention at every event you attend.

What’s a story of how you’ve applied this idea in your own life? What has this lesson done for you?

When I first thought of the “Duke Cookie Face” technique and applied it, I was attending a corporate holiday party of my girlfriend. There were probably 60 people at the party and I only knew her and one other person, that’s it. I was aware that all of the other people at the party knew my date and were going to be curious about who she brought (me).

I also knew that there was no way I was going to be able to meet everyone and try to make a good impression on all of them, so I had to do something that would impress them without saying a word. From observing people myself, I learned that you never know who is looking or when someone might be observing you. And from what they see, they are going to “size you up” and make certain judgements. I had to be ready when their gaze landed on me.

I knew it wouldn’t be right to slouch so, what’s the best way to sit? How would a noble sit? I adjusted my posture. I also needed to have a pleasant, warm expression so I don’t look like I ate a bad piece of candy, so I thought to myself, “How’s my face look when I walk into a home and smell fresh baked cookies?” It’s quietly pleasant, not over the top, but smooth, warm and pleasant. So I made the adjustment. To top it off, as I looked around the room, if I locked eyes with someone, I would say to them in my mind, “Cookies are coming” and give a slight nod.

The effect was positive and immediate. As I sat in that manner I started to feel more confident and calm. People came over to me and introduced themselves. The evening passed without a hitch. The next day, after my girlfriend had a chance to speak with her co-workers she said, “Everybody loved you!” Several of those people ended up inviting us to their homes for dinner in the following weeks, leading to new friends and an expanded network.

That’s when I knew I was onto something. Since that day, I always use and teach that move and it has made a tremendous impact on my ability to thrive in social situations. My students have had remarkable success stories using the technique as well.

Now I’m sharing it with you. Use it and I’ll see you on the yacht.

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In-depth Interviews with Authorities in Business, Pop Culture, Wellness, Social Impact, and Tech. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

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Zach Obront

Zach Obront

Co-Founder of Scribe, Bestselling Author of The Scribe Method

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