How to best connect with former and new acquaintances has been a hot topic since we went into quarantine more than half a year ago.
And it remains a popular question as we emerge from our state-sanctioned restrictions and straddle rekindling face-to-face relationships with virtual communications.
Of course, there are extroverts who are bursting at the seams! They want to be back in their normal workplace, which is not a makeshift home office, and interact with people, physically distanced, and face-to-face. They need that energy to thrive!
And on the other hand, there are the shy or introverted professionals who just can’t believe their good fortune! I should rephrase that —we cannot believe our good fortune. As a quiet, socially reserved person, I’m definitely in the latter camp.
I became Zoom fatigued early on and stopped attending some meetings. Now I’m ready to go back — in moderation and be what my colleagues need me to be; a friendly face providing timely information, with an understanding and empathetic ear, and a smile to share.
This brings me back to why conversation and creating new connections has become such a big and hot topic these past six months. Simply put, we end up missing what we don’t have.
Even the introverted and the shy among us have come to realize there are limits to how much quiet is too much because at the end of the day we are humans intended to socialize and not be isolated.
We are noticeably more energized and happy when we can share thoughts and ideas with people and feel their energy.
It’s the total virtual experience that has some of you bummed-out. That’s because we can’t always feel a person’s vibe through a screen.
To a large extent you have to be more expressive and upbeat and produce a higher level of energy — almost as if you’re acting on screen, just to help land a point when you’re not in-person.
Still, anyone can connect and click virtually and develop enviable social skills, or suffer lifelong social insecurity. They are options, and we’re certainly not without choices concerning how we wish to live.
When I started school, I was already naturally shy then I developed a lisp. My mom made sure I was in speech therapy to correct that, pronto, however, the teasing from classmates stayed with me and it’s one of the things that led to my being introverted and not bothering with people at all.
The shyness and introversion became almost debilitating in my adult and professional life.
Like anything we decide to do, or overcome, or excel at, it just takes desire, and that desire prompts us to set a goal and then of course to find a way or the means to achieve it.
If you tend to feel awkward around people you just met, and therefore you avoid situations that place you in that position, that’s a choice.
When you’re feeling uncomfortable or unsure of what to say, or if you worry about what people might think of you, that is a big waste of time.
When you choose to spend your precious time worrying rather than using that time to make yourself better, you’ve placed yourself at a disadvantage because you have chosen to dwell on images in your mind that are not real, and they are disempowering.
When you think something will have a negative outcome it often does, therefore when you change the negative image to one of you either entering a room with powerful posture and a confident stride, or logging-on to a virtual meeting and maintaining eye contact with the camera lens and not the monitor, and greeting people enthusiastically, you’ve created a very different outcome — both negative and positive are in your mind.
This can cause us to avoid social situations, cut ourselves off from others, and gradually become isolated and lonely.
So now you get it, right? We’re not born socially savvy, but rather it’s a choice that is made, and if you’ve opted for a less social existence for a number of years, there is no better time than now to speak up and stand out in competitive and sometimes high-stakes situations.
If you struggle to make small talk or to increase your circle of friends, Social Skills Secrets was written just for you!
It’s full of actionable, step-by-step guidance to help you live the full and fun life that’s intended for you.
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When you make a conscious effort to take baby steps toward overcoming introversion and becoming socially confident, you will have silenced self-defeating thoughts, often decades in the making.
The benefits also include being less critical of yourself, less self-conscious when all eyes are on you, and becoming so confident you’ll start to look for places and opportunities to use your new skills!
You’re not going to be a different person or seriously alter your personality, but you will be amazed at the number of opportunities that open up for you even though you are the same person with the same education, skills, and credential, but a very different professional persona.
Now, from years and years of experience, I know some of you will still find this speaking up and socializing thing to be difficult, and you’ll attribute it to the label you’ve given yourself, be it shy, introvert, quiet, reserved, or the moniker of preference.
They are just labels to hide behind. I know because I’ve lived them all, and I survived and thrived. I discuss this at length in episode 23 of The Soft Power Podcast.
If you’re ready to let go of your label, reach out to me at any time and we can hop on a call that just may change your life!