I’m a shy person; I don’t like to be the center of attention. I prefer a small group of friends and when out at night, although I love to go out, I prefer to be with “my crowd”. When there’s a large group of people (friends of friends and so on), I tend to stay close to 2-3 of my closest friends… not in a creepy way but I always find myself back with them when I start feeling a bit out of place.
So, in my now 25 years of existance (woah!) and my tiredless want of creating and building something bigger than myself, I have realized that I have put myself in the situation of leading, managing and engaging with people. So, how on Earth am I supposed to do all these roles I have taken responsibility of, if I’m a shy person????
Well, the truth is, I have to suck it up and get on with it. As an introvert, you feel anxiety when you have to go up and talk to random people. Small talk for me is the death of all deaths… What am I suppossed to say? What do I talk about? Do I say something personal? or do we talk strictly about work? Thankfully, the internet is the best thing that has happened, and there are resources everywhere, so I’m here to educate myself and well as you (if you are an introvert).
- Convince yourself that everyone needs someone to talk to. If you are at an event, chances are everyone is a stranger, so it won’t hurt to go talk to someone… after all, that’s what everyone is there to do. Convinving yourself of this will help you reduce anxiety!
- Be genuine. If you are talking to someone, talk to someone like you mean it. It will make people like you and want to continue speaking with you. Stop thinking of how badly small talk can go, and be happy, sound happy when you are speaking to someone.
- Ask questions. Ok, so you are being genuine and you really want to know more about this new person you just met, so ask them a lot of questions! Since we are shy, we don’t really like to talk about ourselves and often feel like we are sharing too much, so go ahead and ask your new friend.
- Don’t interview the person. Don’t get ahead of yourself – One thing is to be in control of the conversation, asking questions and another is to sound like you are interrogating someone. Make sure to add a bit of your stories in between. So if you are asking that person about where they live or where they come from… you also tell them a bit about your background.
- Ask open ended qustions – So, now that you know a little about this person, to get the conversation going and actually engage with them, ask themm questions to which they can’t answer “yes” or “no”. For example:
- How did you enter that profession? What brought you to that type of work?”
- What did you think of the speech?
These 5 steps are not only for networking events, they can also help you on your day to day… when you are at your friends’ dinner party and there’s people you don’t know or when you are at Thanksgiving with your boyfriend’s family… these are good tips to take in and practice.
How do you deal with being shy? Let me know in the comments below!