Reaching out

I consider myself an introvert. Even making telephone calls to a restaurant to ask if they are taking reservations for Mother’s Day makes me anxious. I have an awesome circle of friends, but friendships do not come easily to me.

My preferred mode of communication with people is email, with texting being a close second. I do not like to talk on the phone unless it is with a close friend or relative. Some people may say email is “the coward’s preferred method of communication,” and perhaps they are right to a certain degree. When I email or text someone, I cannot see their face. When I talk to someone face-to-face, I very often cannot look directly at their face. It is way too anxiety-provoking.

Despite all of what I just said, I like to welcome new members when they join the EFA (Editorial Freelancers Association). I get their names from the “What’s New at the EFA?” bulletin, which comes in my email and indicates in which city and state each new member lives.

I focus specifically on members who live either in Maryland or in the greater Washington, DC area, which are the areas closest to me (I live in a Maryland city that is a bedroom community of the greater DC area.) I look at each new member’s EFA profile and if it includes the member’s email address, I send them an email which reads something like this:

“Dear Ms. X,

My name is Suzelle Fiedler and I have been an EFA member for four years. I saw that you recently joined the EFA and that you live [in Maryland/in the greater DC area]. Welcome to the EFA!

I saw that you edit [person’s niche or niches]. I edit scientific research manuscripts, focusing on biochemistry (I have an MS in Biochemistry).

I hope you grow to love the EFA as much as I do.

Have a great day!

Best regards,

Suzelle Fiedler

Am I trying to stalk new members? Absolutely not! What I’m doing is called networking. If a member does not respond, I simply move on. If they do respond, often this leads to a friendly colleague relationship.

One final important thing: I do not reach out to men (or members whom I believe to be men). Things can get very complicated in a bad way when this is done.

If you are a freelancer of any kind, how do you network?

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