During an interview today with a local radio station I was asked a few questions on the topic of how to overcome shyness and anxiety when first meeting people in a public setting.
Truthfully, the answers came very quickly to me and one I was so excited to share as the techniques I have used myself and know for a fact they have worked for me.
Whilst shyness has never really been a problem for me in my adult life, self doubt and having a dose of nerves when first meeting people or presenting in a crowd has certainly been something I have had to overcome.
Here are but a few of the strategies I still use and share with my clients on how to step out of your comfort zone and make ‘small talk’, initiate conversations or walk in to a room of new people.
- Take a breath! Be aware of your breathing, slow it down if you must or in some cases, don’t hold your breath, that is, take one!
- Hold a strong physical stance, put your shoulders back, brace your abdominals and hold you head up high. Being aware of the posture and position of your body can make a remarkable difference to how you feel.
- When you are about to speak to new people, look them directly in the eye and smile…never underestimate the power of a smile. As humans we all want connection so why not be the one to initiate it with another person and do it with confidence. You may be just what the other person needs!
- Know that great things start by ‘small talk’. Great conversations, relationships, and even business deals. They all start with hello. Actually ‘hello’ was the first word my husband and I said to each other.
- Prepare yourself by reminding yourself of ‘who you are’. Dig deep in to that strong personal foundation of knowledge of ‘who’ you are deep down. Remembering that we are all human and we all carry ‘stuff’.
- Whether it be insecurities or self doubt, just know that by you reaching out to speak to someone, say hello or shake their hand, you just might be making their day. You never really know what is going on in someone’s life and your simple hello may just be what they need.