Over the years I have worked with many clients who have found it overwhelming to be in groups of more than one or two other people. I have also seen many clients who feel uncomfortable in the world of dating, because they find it hard to concentrate on the other person, not knowing how to begin conversations or realizing that they look down much of the time, instead of looking at the person with whom they are conversing.
Here are 10 Ways to Overcome Your Shyness:
- Before you even go to the event, think about some things that you can say to open the conversation up. You can even go through it a few times in your mind, to make you more comfortable while you are there.
- Focus on the other person more, then being worried about what you may “seem like” to them. As the great hypnotist, Milton Erickson used to say, “Stop the mind reading.” What he meant by this is that there is no way for you to know what another person may be thinking, so why even go there. Instead, start with a heart felt compliment about the person in front of you. Notice if they have healthy shiny hair, beautiful eyes a nice complexion, or perhaps they are wearing something that you find very attractive.
- If you are at a venue where you met this person, you must have something in common with the person, or you wouldn’t be there. So, ask if they know the person whose home you may be at, or about the event and what brought them there. Or, maybe its a concert or a museum, a meetup group – just ask a question about the why they are there. Make it a question that can’t be answered with only a “yes” or “no.”
- In most societies, people have a better opinion of you if you look them in the eyes when you speak to them. Looking people in the eyes, means you are interested and care about what they have to say. So, be aware of that fact and do your best to look at the person or people that you are interacting with eye contact
- If the person ask you a question, answer from your experience. If you don’t have an answer to their question, you can just let the other person know that you really don’t have an opinion on the subject or that you really don’t know much about what it is that they are speaking about. No one can know everything that can be known out there in the world. If the person is someone that you feel comfortable enough to be speaking with, ask for more information. People love to speak about the things that they are interested in, so this is an excellent way to continue the conversation while showing interest in them. If you aren’t interested in continuing the conversation, just tell the person it was nice to meet them and then excuse yourself to use the restroom or get more food.
- When you are in new situations, do be aware of what you are saying. Self-depreciation isn’t becoming of anyone. If you start hearing yourself putting yourself down, catch yourself and instead ask that person a question.
- Monitor your self-talk for statements like “This is scary.” or “I am nervous.” Instead turn these negative thoughts around by having the thought, “I may meet someone really special that I wouldn’t have met had I not come to this event.” You can also remind yourself that you have come through many such occasions in the past and you are still quite fine. Maybe you could even think back to a social occasion where you were a bit nervous about, turned out very well having met some very interesting and maybe even fun people.
- If you feel that a person is “rejecting” you in some fashion, remember that you have no idea what is really going on in their mind. It may be that they are dealing with a problem that has nothing to do with you, and may be personal. Or, it may be that the two of you have nothing in common, and so, its best to let that be and go meet someone else.
- To build rapport with another, speak at the same rate as they do at the same volume. Position your body so it is similar to theirs at 90 degree angles if at all possible. This will help you both to feel more comfortable with one another.
- Watch your body language, understanding that 55% of our communication does come from our body language alone. The tone of voice used accounts for about 38% and the words we use about 7%. So, body language is very important in conveying your real thoughts and ideas. With that understood also watch their body language of those with whom you are speaking and respond accordingly.
- Practice by going out into the world and starting little conversations with people you stand on line at the bank or at the grocery store. As you practice these skill soon you will realize that people are just people. Most people are more the willing to interact with you, find out about you. That is if you demonstrate that you are interested in learning more about them. I have had some of my best conversations with total strangers waiting on lines at various places. So, go at it and make it a game to see how many people you can start a conversation with and leave feeling better for having had it. In time, you will find your social shyness going away.
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