Do you judge yourself? Do you turn down invitations? Are you afraid of socializing? Do you consider yourself socially awkward?
In this post we’re discussing how to overcome shyness and social anxiety.
Practice your story, speech, elevator pitch out loud and in front of the mirror. Or maybe you have a speech act you’d like to rehearse, such as asking someone out, inviting someone somewhere or declining an invitation.
Get out of your comfort zone
Perform live in a new environment and to a different audience. This will help face your fear of talking with people. If you are afraid of meeting new people and talking to strangers, you’ll be well-served by getting out of your bubble (even though it’s nice and comfy in there, I know!).
Grow some metal armor
Call it thick skin, call it your invisible shield, call it whatever you want but you want to build some resistance. In Game of Thrones, Cersei wears her armor over her dress claiming that queens need to be ready, now I’m not saying you should aspire to be like Cersei, but we can all use some rejection-proof clothing … or at least a rejection-proof mindset.
The way you do that is by asking yourself two questions:
(1) so what if they say that / do that / or reject me?
(2) why do I care what they think of me?
Once you contemplate these questions you may discover two things: a) what they think of you is deeply rooted in society’s expectations that you probably don’t want to conform to in the first place and b) the problem is the image they’re superimposing onto you as opposed to what you want to project to the world.
Don’t be self-conscious:
Make it about your audience. You shift the focus from you to them. A situation is only as awkward as you make it.
Focusing on yourself will cause you to act awkwardly.
Placing the attention on them will make you less self-conscious. Instead you’re thinking about what you can give them and the value you can add to their lives.
Share your expertise
Teach someone something you know a lot about. Usually what we’re passionate about is something we might find ourselves quite good at.
Are you passionate about nutritional health? Share it with someone.
Do you love to talk about indigenous tribes and anthropological studies? Share what you’ve learned with someone.
Speaking about things you love and things you know quite a lot about will help you focus on the message instead of your feelings of social anxiety
Embrace the nerves
Believe it or not if you’re too relaxed you can forget what comes next and you can get lost in the moment.
Trust me, it’s happened to me! During one of my Nutcracker Ballet performances during my Arabian Coffee solo I was so calm and relaxed that I was transported to the Arabian desert. Forgetting I was on stage in front of a full house (1000+ audience members) caused me to forget the dance! I drew a blank, something that had never happened to me in my 17+ years of ballet performances. I couldn’t believe that I had forgotten my steps. Luckily it was recoverable and close to the end of the solo, but still… This goes to show that you really do need the nerves to keep you alert.
If you’re too relaxed and having too much fun out there, you might transport yourself to a far away land.
I truly believe that those stage jitters help ground you in the moment, keep you on your game, and help you stay present.
Embrace your pre-stage nerves. Know that channeling that nervous energy actually helps you focus, keeping you on alert and paying attention to the message and what you’re communicating. This goes for any live performance (public speaking, dancing, singing, acting, etc.).
Love and accept yourself
You are your own best friend. What makes you bulletproof is the love you have for yourself. And because you have confidence in your skills and ability you don’t take anything personally because you have accepted yourself and if people like you they like you for who you are, not who you’re trying to be around them.
Try some positive self-talk to promote healthy intrapersonal communication
Work on yourself, nourish your mind, body and soul and practice self-love because that is the ultimate way of getting you rejection proof.
As humans, we crave social acceptance. But first you need to accept yourself. Once you do, you’ll attract the right people in your life. And you won’t feel socially awkward because you’re not pretending anymore. You’re being 100% authentic, and they’ll love you for it, because you love you for it.
So to recap, we discussed 7 strategies to help you overcome shyness in a social interaction setting: anything from engaging with an audience to having a one-on-one conversation. To reduce social anxiety, we’ve talked about practicing privately, rehearsing in the real world outside comfort zones, wearing your armor to become rejection-proof, not making the situation about you, share your passion, channel the nerves, accept yourself.
I’ll see you in the next video. 😊