For years I was shy and uncomfortable with meeting new people. I was concerned that I wouldn’t know what to say. I was afraid I wouldn’t sound smart enough or interesting enough. There were times I would go out of my way to avoid an encounter in public. On a few occasions, I flat out, turned around and ran!
I needed more confidence and to overcome my fear of meeting new people.
It wasn’t that I was so shy that I couldn’t function, nah. I love people and really enjoy having many friends, peers,etc. I was quickly over the initial ‘shyness’ after getting to know someone; it was just those initial engagements with strangers that created the most fear.
Looking back, I think it was about growing into myself and practicing an unknown skill. One that many seem to have naturally. I did not have this natural skill and told myself for the longest time, I was just shy, as if that was a viable excuse.
But once I put effort toward overcoming this, I gained the much-needed confidence, which is what it really came down to – gaining confidence as opposed to overcoming shyness.
Often, we limit our success because we are afraid to speak out, meet new people, engage in first time conversations or talk about ourselves. We may avoid situations if it requires doing them alone too. Having a friend or peer along can feel good as long as we don’t let them become our crutch or excuse.
As time went on and I practiced more and more….
- Having confidence meant trusting the words would come or if they didn’t, so what!
- Having confidence meant walking into a room full of strangers, with my head held high, and knowing I was just a wonderful and interesting as they.
Also, looking someone in the eye while talking demonstrated personal confidence and an interest in them. I believe it’s important to show genuine interest in another when it comes to building strong relationships. I had interest in them, but it was the confidence in me that I sought to develop.
As I gained experience in life and as the success in my corporate job grew, it became more and more important to get past this limiting fear of meeting new people when on my own or at networking events and trade shows.
The truth is (and as a side note) being single can be so powerful. If we choose to embrace the opportunity with an open mind (I say it this way as I know many people see single-dom as a curse or something, which is really an individual perspective or belief, but that’s a whole other article in itself). So, as a single woman I had the opportunity to embrace stepping out of my comfort zone and stepping into some new found confidence.
Yep, I was more than ready!
There are many things we can do to step out of our comfort zone that are beneficial to engagements with meeting new people in business or personally. I have grown leaps and bounds by implementing purposeful change into my life in this area and you can too.
Here’s a couple of ideas that that helped boost my success and confidence with meeting people and overcoming a fear of speaking or starting a conversation with one or multiple people in a group:
1. Practice conversations on your cell phone first.
I began recording my networking or business event introductions on my phone voice mail. This works great for attending a social event too, even if you aren’t going alone. Anyway, I would record, listen, delete, adjust, record, listen, delete and so on until I felt comfortable with what I had to say and how I said it. I practiced what I would say when asked what I did for a living. I practiced what I would say when someone said, tell me about you. I practiced asking questions. It was hugely beneficial to hear myself. For example, after hearing habitual phrases such as “you know,” I was able to consciously aware of them and able to eliminate them from my conversations.
Yes, these little voice messages helped to expand my confidence when meeting new people. With this confidence I was then able to become a better listener on what they had to say instead of thinking so much about me.
I even used this method to give myself little pep talks from time to time too. Such as, “Teresa, you are a smart, confident, empowered woman who has so much to offer, there is no one else like you! Now go out and shine your light, make every new person you meet feel special important too! This is a simple way to help you feel better, more confident and enjoy life much more. Give it a try.
2. Invite people to your home that you don’t know.
Now this was huge for me. But, I wanted to practice meeting new people and expand my leadership skills. So, I formed a discussion group and eventually a mastermind group.
I was able to find an online forum that people joined based on group interest. However, the events had to be done in person. Many group facilitator would host at coffee shops or other public places. But I decided to invite them to my home. My discussion topic was Law of Attraction. This was several years ago and at the time, I had just recently heard about this life changing information and universal science. I was eager to learn and hear more from others in the group all while educating and immersing myself in the topic on my own. At the time this started, I had never invited strangers into my home. In business I was a manager over several people but there was something different about leading a group of ‘initial’ strangers in my home.
As I turned out, I had one of the first groups of this topic in the city I live. Soon after the movie “The Secret” came out, there was many, many other such home study groups. However, I expanded my comfort zone and met 100s of new people this way.
Learning, sharing, teaching, and facilitating – it was all very rewarding and has much to do with the career transition I made to support other women who may seek change or purpose. For women who are also seeking the clarity, confidence and commitment to create a lifestyle or business transition or make that big leap forward. This is who we support at Empower The Dream – it’s about being a feminine leader in your own life first and then get out and change the world or inspire others. Yes, that period in my life was was huge in growth and confidence building for me and I just love what it has evolved too. Talk about trusting and following your divine guidance.
If you want to practice meeting new people, form a group around one of your favorite topics – then go ahead and make up your own rules of engagement. This could very well change your life in ways you don’t even know yet, it sure did mine!
The point is, to really rock your confidence; you have to get out of your comfort zone. Even if it is a natural shyness that you experience, that too can change if you want it to. You don’t have to do anything huge and complicated but rather just do something different…starting today.
Think of a baby. They have such natural confidence. For example, when they are learning to walk, they’ll just stand up and give it shot. Yes, they fall. Bu you notice how they will always get back up and try again? They are resilient and great at pushing out of their comfort zone and willing to take one more step. How inspiring those little precious babes are! So of course, you and I can do the same and before you know it, your confidence soars and that next step turns into your next life adventure!
P.S. Want to learn more about how you can advance your life, get the corner office, save the less fortunate or find your purposeful path and be a true feminine leader of your own life while inspiring change in others? Check out our private mentorship and other programs at Empower The Dream.