Shyness can be overwhelming at times for many people in social settings. That paralyzing fear of walking into a room where you may not know everyone can keep the free flow of conversation locked tight in your brain.
Take deep breaths, relax, and remember that this is a normal reaction. You can take control of your fears by recognizing them and planning for a better outcome. Once you work your way through these situations, you may gain the confidence you need to start conversations and meet new people without fear of running out of things to say.
Tips for Feeling More Confident Around People
Plan Ahead with Topics To Discuss
This is a trick used by most managers of meetings. You can use this trick to plan for parties or other informal gatherings. Take into consideration the people in attendance. Make note of what has been going on in their lives and use these elements as a basis for conversation starters. It may help to jot down these bits of information before the gathering to help collect your thoughts.
Make the First Move
There are two quick ways to start a conversation with someone:
- Introduce yourself.
- Ask a question.
Even a simple introduction to someone might spark the other person to start talking and do the heavy lifting in a conversation. Open-ended questions that ask for someone’s thoughts or opinions can work better so that you do not receive a one-word response. Some examples:
- “What do you think about tonight’s turnout?”
- “How are you liking this weather?”
Questions also allow other people to open up about themselves, which can help carry a conversation into different topics.
Get Out of Your Comfort Zone on a Regular Basis
Talking to others can spark future conversations with other people. If you stay at home alone without social stimulation, your brain shuts off the thoughts that generate creative ways to interact.
Talking with others is like a muscle that you need to exercise on a regular basis. The more you talk to others, the more you will remember what works and what does not in terms of keeping a conversation going.
Even making a point of talking to people you encounter on errands each day can help keep your mind alert in this way and you will continue to improve your people skills.
Stop Self-Editing Thoughts
These thoughts can be a conversation killer and keep you shy and silent. Recognize these thoughts when they pop in your mind and see them as merely examples of fear that you can overcome. Some of these thoughts may include:
- “No one wants to hear me.”
- “I do not fit in.”
- “No one cares about what I have to say.”
- “Nobody likes me.”
These thoughts are all fear-based excuses. Unless you are a lone activist actually trying to disrupt a meeting, recognize that you are someone just trying to fit in and these thoughts are simply not true.
Remember Everyone Fights Shyness to Some Degree
If your efforts to talk to someone fall flat, do not take it as an insult or as a sign that you are not a good conversationalist. Many people fight shyness or even cases of social anxiety. Using your own skill sets, introductions and questions, along with self-deprecating humor, can help break the ice.
Get the New Guide for Overcoming Shyness for more easy tips on becoming more confident.