Author – Preethi AnanthaNarasimhan
How to overcome fear of talking to people.
People skills is an essential part of life! Be it in the professional circle or social circle. But like most of us know, it does not come naturally to all. Some are simply gifted and are amazing with people and others have to work towards it. You do need some effort and experience to get GREAT with talking people but seriously, you never need to be afraid of it!
And just so you know, you don’t have to be great at it, you just need to be able to do it. Like I said there’s no running away from people, they are everywhere. So yeah IF you’re really afraid of approaching new people, please don’t be, get over it! They’re just like you.
Here are some of the things that you really, really, really have to know to get over the fear of talking to new people: (and they are really true! Im not making these things up! promiseJ )
1) It’s no big deal!
So taking it one step at a time, first you need to get rid of the metal block about it and stop obsessing over it. The more you think about how bad you are at it, the more you’re going to feel sad about it and lose confidence in yourself.
So stop thinking that you’re not good with people or even that you’re afraid of approaching people. Just get rid of the thought! Deliberately. Whenever your mind wanders off to thinking about it, consciously make an effort to shrug it off.
Tell yourself it’s no big deal and you’re fine with it. Keep doing that and the thought of talking to new people will actually stop scaring you at some point.
2) What’s the worst that could happen?
If at all you screw up trying to talk to someone new, what’s the worst thing that could happen?? He/she will think you’re an idiot? NO! It’s what YOU think he/she will think about you! And even if they really do, who cares what others think of you? And you’ll never know what if they actually did!
So for all technical purposes, you should stop worrying about what they’re going to think about you. You being able to put your message across is more important than what impression you’re going to makeonastrangers mind.
3) Take it slow!
And you can always take it slow. Think about the talking you’ll be doing. Move closer to the person. Make eye contact. Smile. Stand with the group for some time, get comfortable where you are. And just do not think of something to say and keep it in your head. Do share.
That’s your chance to break into the group. You don’t have to make a great impression. Don’t pressurise yourself. It’s no examination. They are just people. And you’re going to meet them again. Atleast you want to, isn’t that why you want to get over the fear? So you can make friends or build your professional network?
If its just a single person you’re talking to, and he’s shooting questions at you, take your time, think before you answer. Like I said, Get comfortable with him. Make eye contact. This is not a buzzer round that you have to answer him/her within 10 seconds! Be yourself. Finish what you want to say-at your own pace.
And think of asking something relevant to what they asked you back to them. You don’t have to,its just being polite and showing interest in them too as they did in you. Keep it casual. And as I said earlier, you want to meet them again don’t you? You can pick up your conversation next time, there’s loads of time toimpress, if at all you want to.No pressure!
4) If you’re afraid because you think you’re going to say incoherent things, rehearse!
It might sound a little juvenile, but it really helps. Who doesn’t get nervous? It’s just that people cope with it in different ways. So try rehearsing the entire thing that you would like to say to somebody, alone and if it helps, in front of a mirror. Prepare for the expected conversation.
The things that you want to ask them in advance if you cannot multitask and think about what to say about yourself and what to ask about them at the same time. That way you have one less thing to worry about when you’re talking- the content!Atleast most of it! And just try and be comfortable and be yourself.
5) Does the language intimidate you? Is it English you’re afraid of?? Expression and communication is all that matters!
Build up that confidence. Your English is fine! And if its not, improve! Its all a continuous process. You wont get better if you don’t use it. And as long as you’re confident and are able to express yourself, with a smile on your face, nobody cares. And trust me people are kinder and sweeter than you think they are.
Not everybody is so petty to judge you on your grammar and language skills. And if, unfortunately you encounter such jerks, know that they are in a shell and are mean people. You don’t want to really bother about what such petty people think about you. Remember, language is just a tool to express yourself. It can never be a judge to your confidence! So forget about it. People who care, will correct you if it’s necessary 🙂
6) Are you intimidated by people’s status and confidence? Or simply because you don’t know who that could be?
This is where it gets interesting. The beauty of meeting new people lies in the mystery about another person’s life doesn’t it? J Why be afraid of that mystery? Of that diversity?
All that you can see is what he/she is portraying himself or herself to be. And for you know, he/she is not even aware of the image they are creating for the world.
Just like you don’t know what they could think of you. And it is going to be this way and you’ll enjoy meeting people and talking to people the moment you realise talking to people is about them and not about you. For everybody. Although in the end, you’ll have met countless people and is all about you meeting them, each new meeting is about the new person and not about you. 🙂 Go ahead and open up! Its about you for them too! 🙂
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