In my workshops, training programs and one to one counseling sessions, where I teach Personality Development, Confidence Building, Interview Skills and other aspects of the job search, I am always asked in at least in third of cases, “How can I overcome my shyness?”, “I am so nervous during the interview, what I could do to gain self confidence?” or “Please give me some trainings to overcome to overcome social anxiety during the social gatherings or office functions”
In my previous post Personality Development Tips, I discussed the tips to improve your personality. There was general advice about the ways you can polish your personality and shine better while interacting with others. If you followed them then you would have felt more comfortable in the in the very situations which otherwise you prefer to avoid.
Let me now address a common problem which every third or fourth person on an average faces – which is shyness or under confidence or lack of confidence. In this post I’d like to share specific Personality Development Tips to overcome shyness and gain self confidence.
You may probably find answers to:
- How can I overcome my shyness and talk more confidently in the interviews?
- How can I gain self confidence and participate successfully in the office meetings?
- How can I become an extrovert and talk to strangers?
- How to overcome social anxiety and be comfortable at social functions?
- How can I make new friends?
What is the main issue – Shyness or lack of confidence?
Whatever is the term being used to describe your issue – social anxiety, nervousness during the interviews, introversion, shyness, the fact of the matter is that you are uncomfortable in one to one interactions or in the social settings, particularly which involve a performance on stage or an evaluation in some way.
Therefore, for the purposes of this post, I’m going to address all these challenges in your job interviews or career growth or personal life as one. The objective is to increase self confidence so that you are more comfortable in interacting and dealing with in formal as well as informal settings.
Personality Development Tips to overcome shyness and gain self confidence
Tip # 1 Don’t take this too seriously
Sundeep Kataria is CEO of a Management firm ACS Consultants. He is the Chief Coach, Executive Mentor and has been training people since 1997.
Some of the readers may laugh and say this is no solution. But wait till you have read at lease first 5 points seriously. Being shy or feeling anxiety is not a disease or sign of any disability. It is only that perhaps you tend to take your strengths for granted and focus too much on your weaknesses.
The second good news is that there is absolutely no need to undergo a major change. All you need is some tweaking by making some important and useful additions to your thinking, style, habits and appearances.
Absolutely ignore if people tell you that it is personality disorder or you have to totally change yourself as a person to overcome shyness. It is not possible to change core personality – if attempted it can only make matter worse.
Remind yourself regularly that to stop being shy, you just need some fine tuning and acquiring some positivity in your habits and everyday behavior style. That should be enough to be more confident at your workplace and also to help you socialize.
Tip # 2 Don’t be too harsh on yourself
A lot of shy or introvert people live with the belief that it is the extrovert or the pushy guy who walks away with the credit in the job or is considered the performer in the job interviewer. Also the introverts tend to over analyze the situations, sometimes making them up in their own minds.
Believe you me, all this is unnecessary and unproductive.
Don’t beat yourself down yourself or criticize yourself for your limitations. Being too sensitive to “mistakes” they might have made in the interview or review meeting, etc., due to being self-conscious.
Judging yourself unkindly rather than encouraging yourself could be one of the reasons why you are unable to get rid of your shyness. In other words, don’t be too judgmental about yourself. Nobody is perfect.
Of course, it is a good idea to continuously learn and strive to be a better person. But you could be crossing the line of positive improvement and putting yourself into the unwanted territory of harsh and self- destructive criticism. Judging yourself excessively and blaming yourself unnecessarily will make a dent in your self-esteem. This kind of self monitoring sends an invitation to anxiety and depression.
From now onward, learn the lessons and move on in life. Life is supposed to be a blessings to be enjoyed. Have some fun also.
Tip # 3 Step out of the house frequently: Interact with people
Every day or as frequently as possible you should visit friends or call them to a public place. Even if you are alone, don’t worry. Just get up, dress up nicely and just step out of the house. Go to a mall or any other public place where you can hang out for a while. While ordering your coffee at the nearest Starbucks or Barista, pick up a conversation with the waiter or the person behind the cash register. You may compliment him at his efficiency or the unlimited energy he has. Find a cozy corner and just watch the world go by, if somebody smiles at you then make an eye contact and wish him or her back.
Going out and interacting with different people will open you up bit by bit, polishing up your social skills – whether it is the friends or the strangers at the cafe.
Tip # 4 Make eye contact and smile
This is the single most important habit which shall always be helpful to you while interacting with others – whatever may be the occasion or the type of interaction – social or formal; meeting or presentation or job interview.
Make eye contact with people and follow it up with a smile. Shyness generally leads to the inability to break ice with strangers or build rapport with the people you already know.
The easiest way to overcome this barrier is to always tell yourself to make eye contact. Don’t keep looking down or away from the person when you are interacting with him or her or them. Look at people in the eye and follow it up with a smile. A warm smile is infectious. You are likely to get a friendly smile back unless the person you smile at is a jerk or a complete stranger.
A genuine smile with an eye contact is a polite way to instantly break ice with almost anyone. Initially, it may seem difficult but when gather some courage to do it a couple of times, it will be become a positive asset in your personality. You will have a smooth sailing all the way.
Tip # 5 Ask questions and be a good listener
Communication is not just speaking by you. It is a two way process. In a good communication, when one person speaks, the other person listens and responds appropriately. Therefore, even if you are not a chatterbox, there is no need to force yourself to become one. Especially in the day to day office environment or the social parties, you may ask some general but innocent questions which are open ended about the person and his life. Then let him talk. But you must pay attention and respond at appropriate times.
People with shy personalities get nervous at the thought of worrying about the answers they will have to give when other people ask too many questions. Doing this will take the focus away from you and put others in the conversational spotlight.
Almost everyone loves to talk about himself but is looking for a good listener. So if you play the role of a good listener, your company shall soon be sought after and you shall be termed as a “great conversationalist.”
Tip # 6 Improve your body language
You may be aware that communication is not merely verbal. In fact it is only 45% to 40% of total conversation. Majority of conversation is non verbal which includes body language, your external appearance, your style stamen, your clothes etc. By this logic, it also includes your health, figure and vital statistics. If you have strong arms, big biceps, great looking butt you will be appreciated and admired and in turn it will give the confidence and the attraction in your looks.
Therefore, get a gym membership or workout at home. Whatever is your chosen style, it should done regularly. Working out and getting back in shape may be a core aspect of your confidence levels.
This is especially recommended, If you think that your low self-worth is because of not so smart looks, start dealing with it right away by joining a gym or exercising at home.
It will take at a few months for the first signs of positive change in your body looks and energy levels. But once that happens, you will feel a surge of confidence from within.
Tip # 7 Practice regularly
Charity begins at home. Thus don’t take conversations and interactions with your members of family for granted. It is a great opportunity to practice up your conversational skills with your mother, father, siblings, cousins and everyone else.
Also you can rehearse in front of a mirror, with a friend, or using your mobile phone’s camera The more you do something, the less foreign and the less embarrassing it is later one. If you do your public speaking or interview practice in front of the mirror or the webcam, or with a friend, you are not only rehearsing and improving your level of confidence, but you are also decreasing your anxiety level.
To sum up
Challenging yourself to acquire some extraverted traits and inter personal skills may actually open new doors to opportunities you didn’t know were possible and maybe even lead to careers you would never have considered. Of course, it would be immensely beneficial in other areas of life too.
To recapitulate, the Personality Development Tips to Overcome Shyness and Gain Self Confidence:
1. Don’t take this too seriously
2. Don’t be too harsh on yourself
3. Step out of the house frequently: Interact with people
4. Make eye contact and smile
5. Ask questions and be a good listener
6. Improve your body language
7. Practice regularly