How to Overcome Shyness and Make Introductions

July 28, 2015

Tips on overcoming shyness and making introductions with ease

While attending a party full of strangers may seem like a great social adventure to some, others find great anxiety in having to work a room. These tips will help you gain the confidence you need to overcome shyness and meet new people.

How to Overcome Shyness and Make Introductions

1. Overcome shyness

Don't be a shrinking violet. Work on your confidence and blossom at work and play.

  • Understand your shyness. Notice where and when it strikes and ask yourself what it is that you fear. Note down the negative messages that you send yourself then list the assumptions on which they are based. Remind yourself that they are assumptions, not facts.
  • Feel the fear and do it anyway. Strike up a conversation, go for that interview, make that phone call, go to that party. If you duck out of challenging situations you only reinforce your problem.
  • Set a target. Don't go to a party expecting to talk to every single guest. Challenge yourself to talk to, say, three people you don't know.
  • Break social encounters down into smaller, simpler steps. Start with everything but conversation: stand tall, look around you, make eye contact, smile. A friendly approach is usually welcome and reciprocated.
  • Keep conversation simple. Say hello, introduce yourself, find out the other person's name, make a comment, ask a question. Above all, take an interest in what the other person has to say; don't worry what they think about you.
  • Remember that you have something in common with the other person; you are both in the same place at the same time. Think about why. Do you have a shared acquaintance, interest or job? Use this to fuel your conversation.
  • Be polite. Thank people warmly for any service they perform. Be appreciative. Make them feel good. It will help you to feel the same way.

2. Introduce people to each other

Provide names to both the people being introduced, and explain who they are — just enough information to kick off a conversation. Your primary aim is to put people at ease, but there are a couple of etiquette conventions to follow.

  • Always introduce a man to a woman, as in, "Jane Brown, I would like to introduce Jack Black."
  • The older or more senior person should "receive" the younger, as in, "Dad, this is my former French teacher, John Stewart; John, this is my father, Harry Smith."

Following these basic guidelines will help you feel more comfortable in social situations.

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