Mar 032014

networking when you're shyThere are talkers, and then there are people who find it hard to talk to others.

Some people just open their mouths and their whole life story spills out, and others need to be coaxed into sharing even their name.

Why is it so hard for some people to open up?

Is it nerves? Is it purely for the sake of privacy?  I’ll tell you a secret … many people find it hard to talk to others because they are scared of looking stupid. They are worried that they will open their mouth and make a fool of themselves.

If this sounds like you, I have some tips that may help you feel more comfortable in a networking situation.

  • Talk about topics you know well.
  • Ask questions instead of waiting to answer questions.
  • Make small talk – talk about the weather, a community issue you’re passionate about, or a story in the local newspaper.
  • Imagine that the people you are talking to are also finding it hard to carry on a conversation.
  • Pick a group of people to talk to rather than an individual, you’ll feel more comfortable listening if there are at least two others talking.
  • If you feel yourself floundering, you can always excuse yourself from the group and start a new conversation with someone else.

Remember, whatever the topic of the discussion is, you don’t have to be right. You don’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to have all the answers. Just be you.

photo credit: Tim Dorr via photopin cc