1. Reminisce the shyest times you encountered and attain a realistic goal to change yourself better.
“Never say, I wish someone to want me too,” according to Gerald Phillips, Ph.D., one who have founded the Penn State shyness program. “It must be something that you can change. Such as, ‘Next time I go to the party I would like to perform a 5 minutes conversation or more than that with everyone.’ ”
Maybe you want to be able to speak in front of a large group at a conference, or wish you wouldn’t get so flustered when you talk to the boss. Begin a conversation which is a very simple task to your three friends on a familiar subject or just speak “hi” to the boss in the hall. If you are comfortable with the steps provided, start a task that is you think very challenging like praising your boss when he is passing such as, “The employees enjoyed your report earlier and I am one of them. Because of your advice, I immediately solved the issue I was facing with the clients.” (Make sure to say that it’s more than idle flattery.) When your boss sees you are making an effort to become friendly, he or she will be more likely to make an opening remark the next time you meet, which will further loosen up the situation. At the beginning stage, start with a pre-planned comment to ensure that you don’t nervous and say something flip.
2. Attain a performance planning for implementing the goal.
In a party situation, which is the quintessential social-anxiety source, imagine how you will look in the door, how you will pick out someone to talk to, what you will talk about. Write such as a plan if it makes you feel in control of the situation. When you walk into a social gathering, “do not approach a popular group. Find someone who is standing alone. Chances are, he/she feels the same way you do. Also, try approaching someone on the same-sex first. There’s less tension that way.” Breaking the ice is the hardest part of a shy person, so think about the conversation openers. You may want to compliment a person on what he/she is wearing. It is better to be specific than general. To say, “The amethyst in your necklace is gorgeous” shows a little more thought than simply saying, “I love your necklace!” And be sure to find and comment on something you genuinely admire instead of being false, which can create more anxiety. Other good openers including asking how the person knows the host, making some comment about the food and decor at the party (“I see you like the salmon, too,” or, “Aren’t the drawings on this Oriental screen beautiful?”). And you should feel free to resort to a statement about the weather since even experienced conversationalists do so. Just try to make it an interesting observation, such as: “That was a quiet storm this afternoon, wasn’t it?” Did you see all the skeletons of umbrellas strewn the streets afterward?”
You may also want to plan some options for closing a discussion, which can sometimes be difficult as starting one: For example, excusing yourself to find the host or to freshen your drink are discreet ways of bowing out. (Choose a drink that is non-alcoholic, since you want to stay in control.)
You can practice in front of the mirror- as I did- or in front of your friend or family until you feel comfortable saying the words. I spent a lot of time to talk my mirror just to make sure that I look natural when I speak. I even taped myself once to make sure my voice sounded all right. Then I went to my new male friend and talked to him although I was about to die inside. It was a great experience for me the fact that it was my first time to talk with a guy.
4. Play a role
To put structure into uncomfortable and unfamiliar situations. it may help to adopt a part of yourself. In a conversation, take a role of an interviewer, this is suggested by Warren Jones, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at the University of Tulsa. Joan Kaganoff of Westfield, New Jersey, who has recently been divorced, says that, when she goes out of the date, she pretends she’s Diane Sawyer. “I’m not used to go out of the dates. They make me very uncomfortable, so I really force myself to think that dating is a job -my job is to find out more about this guy as much as I can,” she says. “I ask questions as if I were doing a profile on him. You know, ‘ What made you decided to go to the neurosurgery?” or, “What would you have done differently in your life?’ It really makes it fun.” Says jones: “People like nothing better than to be asked questions about themselves. It almost always leads to reciprocation.”
Take note of how an accomplished conversationalist conducts himself/herself. Adopt some of her opener on her tactics for keeping a conversation going. Study her admirable characteristics and try to incorporate them into your own style. Do not, of course, try to exaggerate yourself into someone you’re not. Use only the techniques and the characteristics that can be modified to suit your own personality. For example, maybe one hostess greets her guests with flamboyant kiss each cheek and says loudly, “Darling, the last time I saw you, we were having a grand time drinking soda and reminiscing at Maude’s pool party.”
This does not mean that you try to imitate her style. The hint here is to greet someone with a fond memory of when you last met.
6. Make your strengths your advantage
Shy people come out of the shells most when we talk about the subject we know well or deeply feel about. Like the 45 years old Sandra Lucca of Sheman Oaks, California, says she was never able to speak effectively in front of a group until she was at the meeting of the local organization for the homeless. “I felt so strongly about helping the homeless that I was actually able to get up and speak,” she says. “And I was so excited afterward because I sounded pretty good.”
Lucca has become very active in the group, often giving speeches in her area (“I’m not scared because I have so much to say”), and reports that these experiences have allowed her to pen up in her job and her personal conversations.
When a 32-year-old Catherine Goerge moved to Chicago, she turned to her favorite subject- books- to help her make friends, “For years, I had hidden behind books, but now, living away from my hometown for the first time in my life, I knew I couldn’t do that. I had to meet people. So joined a book club in YMCA. Books are my passion, and I found I was more comfortable talking about them with these strangers. So much has come out of the sessions. I’ve met people who share my interests, and I’ve loosened up. I am not totally over my shyness, but I feel better about talking in front of the people. And just this fall, I became a group leader, a big step for me.”
7. Take your mind off yourself
Shy people are usually preoccupied with what their conversation partner is thinking about them and they don’t hear what he/she is saying. In fact, shy people spend about 40 to 50% of the time they are engaged in conversation thinking about themselves, opposed to 20% for those who are not shy. Instead of listening to the other person, a shy person may be worrying, “How am I coming across? ” .Often, shy people lose the train of thought or can’t ask a follow-up question since they haven’t heard what the speaker has just said.
Discovering this tendency to over focus on myself was a turning point in me in my transition from shy to self -assured. I was shy earlier, until the late of college when I joined a church sponsored children’s theater group for handicaps. They needed people to perform, so they asked me. Even though the thought of getting up in front of the audience made me shake inside, I knew it was for a good cause. For the first play, I rehearsed the lines over and over. I go out of the stage, and I was so nervous what everyone was thinking about met that I forgot my lines two or three times. I think I really started to change when I saw myself on a videotape of the performance and realized how stupid I looked when I was nervous.
Now, I am performing both children’s and adult theater and think that I am finally licked my shyness. I am still soft-spoken and would probably not be considered an extrovert, but I can now get up in the front of the group without falling apart. I am now preparing my business conferences as if I were going onstage. I’ve got my comments and ideas written beforehand and have studied my part. And I know that, if I’m going to do well, I have to relax and stop worrying about what people are thinking about me.
8. Develop yourself gradually
Do not try to change yourself overnight. After you’ve mastered your first small goal, such as having a five time conversations at the party, move on to a bigger one, such as engaging in 35 minute conversations, then to ask a new acquaintance to lunch. Set up a schedule for achieving your goals, and reward yourself when you’ve accomplished them. If you expect to be a hit in one night, you’re going to be disappointed and may withdraw more. Taking slow steps is the only way to go.