Overcoming Shyness

Shyness is not the worst quality to possess.  It implies humility, and it may even make you more approachable.  However, shyness is a problem when it prevents you from achieving your goals.  Here are some techniques to help you overcome your shyness: 

Identify your triggers.  What, specifically, makes you feel shy?  Is it meeting new people?  Is it group settings?  Is it talking to someone in a position of authority?  If you can predict when your shyness will strike, you can take steps to make the situation more comfortable for you. 

Talk to three new people every day.  When trying to become more outgoing, practice makes perfect.  If you force yourself to speak to new people, you will become more comfortable doing it.  Start a conversation with your hairstylist, or the person in line behind you at the grocery store.  It doesn’t matter what you talk about, the point is to make a connection. 

Have conversation topics handy.  Starting a conversation is easier if you already have a topic in mind to discuss.  Choose a current event, or something related to your environment.  For example- if you are at a restaurant, ask them if they can recommend a dish. 

Focus on others.  Focus your attention on getting to know another person,  Ask them about themselves, and really listen to their answers.  People are always happy to meet a good listener, and you will be so busy learning about the other person that you won’t have time to be shy. 

Fake it ’till you make it.  The great thing about confidence is that it’s easy to fake.  If you act confident, before long, you will feel confident.    

Smile and make eye contact with people.  If you look friendly and approachable, people will be more likely to talk to you, which will help boost your confidence.

Don’t be too hard on yourself.  Accept that you are shy, and don’t feel bad about it.   Celebrate small successes.  If you talk to someone on the elevator, recognize that it is an accomplishment (even if it seems like a small one).

Now get out there and talk to people!

(Written By:  Karen Bivand)

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