Communications: Situational Shyness

26 May

Last week I was at a reception for the annual Fastest Companies Award in the Corridor, and had an interesting experience. A young, very capable woman I have worked with mentioned to me and my social director that when she met me the first thing I said was that if she continued to use tanning machines she would surely get skin cancer.  My lady later reminded me I often make such social faux pas in some situations.  OMG

By coincidence, the same day there was an article on this subject in the Wall Street Journal titled “Blush, Babble, Cringe: The Shy Social Butterfly.” Apparently research by psychologists shows 95% of people report this happens to them (the other 5% are probably lying) and many people are aware of the conditions that elicit this behavior.  As 95% of you may have had this self-inflicted experience here are the suggested techniques to help you immunize yourself against future social blunders:

Mentally prepare for such events, think about what to say, have a sentence or two to introduce yourself, practice talking to strangers in the grocery store, have quirky social  rules (say hello to everyone in blue) for yourself at such events.

Make statements – don’t ask questions.  It may seem a polite way to draw others out but it makes them do the work.

Don’t beat yourself up if you are uncomfortable or conversation doesn’t flow, chances are others are also feeling shy and will not be focused on you.

For more on this go to the WSJ.  It is a fun and informative article.

Listen to an interview with John about Beyond Luck.

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2 Responses to “Communications: Situational Shyness”

  1. Lynn Manternach May 26, 2010 at 3:57 am #

    OMG indeed. We’ve all been there. We all know how important it is to be prepared, and social situations are no different. Thanks for the great tips, John!

  2. Lilly Walker May 28, 2010 at 7:56 am #

    Experience demonstrates that extroverted social conveners embark on these behaviors naturally. Others learn them along the way, by keen observation and education. It’s a life journey…. 🙂

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