By Rhonda Campbell
In children shyness may be viewed as “cute” and “innocent”. It can also carry the “innocent” connotation into adulthood. However, that’s about the only positive connotation shyness can bring to the business world, an environment where it takes confidence, drive and boldness to excel.
Striking Up Conversations, Meeting New People
If you’ve struggled with shyness, you already know how hard it appears and feels to strike up conversations with people. Depending on the depth of your shyness, you might even feel uncomfortable starting conversations with people you’ve known for several months. Discussing business with someone you’re meeting for the first time seems out of the question.
However, if you want to land new customers, increase customer sales and develop rewarding business partnerships with other creative small business leaders you’re going to have to start initiating conversations. Although doing so feels hard at first, after you start taking steps to overcome shyness, it will get easier. In time, you might look back and find it hard to believe you ever were shy.
Steps to Overcome Shyness
Similar to how heavyweight boxers work their way up the ranks, all the way to earning the championship belt, start small and build your way up. Steps you can take to overcome shyness and excel as a creative small business leader include:
- Write down five things you like about yourself (do this every day, it only takes a few minutes, if that)
- Answer questions posed by colleagues and other business leaders
- Focus on your goals including how building relationships with other people will tremendously shorten the amount of time it takes you to reach those goals
- Highlight your positive qualities (whether you realize it or not, you have plenty of positive qualities)
- Tell a joke in public for the fun of it, not to get laughs from listeners
- Remember that everyone has events and situations they are trying to work through. People aren’t as focused on the run in your stockings or the stain on your shirt as you might think.
- Revisit times in your life when you overcame a challenge, helped someone else, etc.
- Attend one networking event a month. If you attend online events, make a comment, suggestion or ask a question at least once during the event.
- Share your business cards and contact information with other creative business leaders
- Ask people questions about themselves (we all find ourselves to be rather interesting)
- Regularly get out and meet people in-person, not online
- Accept compliments
- Get outdoors and enjoy natural light
- Eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly
- Stay away from comparing yourself to others (You don’t know what another person is thinking or feeling on the inside, just as others don’t know what you’re thinking and feeling.)
- Read books about other people who overcome shyness and excelled in their passion field
Just because you struggle with shyness now doesn’t mean that you’ll always be shy. Several accomplished creative small business leaders overcame shyness. The important thing is to practice self-love and to continue to take smart risks. Also introduce yourself to at least one new business leader or social contact a week. In time, your confidence will rise and you may start to feel more comfortable interacting, networking with, inspiring and leading others.
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