Do you own your own business and think you would be more successful if you just were not as shy as you are? Or do you work for someone else and the fear of talking to new people has kept you from climbing the “corporate ladder”? For shy peeps, social interaction can be an experience that could likely land you in the bathroom; for the shy ones who are reading this you know what I’m talking about.
When I was very young I can remember being shy. It was not long after then though that I remember being enrolled in what seemed liked “THE BE BOLD ACADEMY”. I learned from my Dad (the Headmaster) who was an extremely outspoken individual how to speak up for myself. I learned that those who are shy overthink their behavior and their responses; they often obsess over everything they say or do about what others are thinking about them. What I learned also at the “ACADEMY” was that it is self-centered to think people are always thinking about your every word; people are more frequently busy thinking about themselves. That took a lot of the pressure off of me at an early age about what I felt like saying; it was from that point on that it became a habit to just speak out with my thoughts. I was told they of course they could not be rude. It has mounted from asking how to do a certain math problem if I didn’t understand it in class, to where things may be in a certain aisle in a grocery store, to directions to a certain place, to description of something on a menu, to arguing about a bill I received that I felt was inaccurate, to trying to receive a better price for equipment or a location on a job for the many years while I was a Film Producer. I have passed on those many ways to friends, to my kids and I am now passing on some of those ways to you. These few “speak-up starters” will begin to change your business and your life:
Nothing is Perfect: The bar is often raised very high in our minds when we think of speaking up; we put too much pressure on ourselves to be perfect. I am not talking about speaking to lots of people, I’m talking about talking to another person or a small group. Why are you so shy? It can help to look deeper into your shyness to get a better understanding. Also, there are public speaking classes which can be additionally helpful; they are offered at local high schools and colleges. There is Toastmasters Int’l if you are wanting to take things to another higher level. Lastly, I would check out The Fine Art of Small Talk by Debra Fine, for talking to people informally it’s a great book. You might also like to know that you are not alone, there are some very well-known actors that are shy and have managed to deal with it. It’s inspirational to know that if they can do it, so can you: Jessica Chastain, Jessica Simpson, Johnny Depp, Nicole Kidman, Courtney Cox, Beyoncè, and Lady Gaga to name a few.
Write It Down: If being spontaneous makes you nervous, write down an outline or some questions about what it is you want to talk about. “You must plan to be spontaneous” ~David Hockney. You should know that it is okay to read your thoughts and ideas, lots of people do. Don’t get hung up on the fact that you are doing it so that it makes you clearer or more concise. As you do it more often, you may not have to write things down as frequently.
Don’t Predict The Ending: Share your thoughts for the sake of sharing your thoughts. If you are less attached to what you think the outcome will be or needs to be, you’ll be more open to what is actually happening at the time and what your feedback is going to be. You will not get worked up on writing out all the scenes to the play. Speak up, get your thoughts across, regardless the feedback, it’s getting it out there and up for discussion that is most important.
Remember What You Have To Say Is Important: You will be more confident when you share the facts. By sharing just the facts this will keep you from becoming emotional, it will make is so that you can speak with clarity and assuredness. If while speaking the facts you want to move outside the “fact box”, you can feel free to take that step, if the time and the situation is right.
But Your Listening Skills Are Great: You may think you should be a better speaker, and you would be even more successful especially in your career if you could express your thoughts verbally. However, keep in mind as you are working on those speaking skills, that those who are not speaking as much, usually are good listeners. As you finesse your speaking skills, your listening skills will leave a terrific impression on the people with whom you engage in conversation and ask your thought provoking questions, giving you the ability to create very important relationships.