Do you get uncomfortable when you have to engage in small talk.
For example, when you are waiting for the meeting to start or when you are attending a lunch meeting and there is chit chat. Do you hide with your face in your cell phone or head to the washroom, even if you don't have to go?
I used to be like that too
I used to cringe thinking no one wanted to chat with me. I was afraid someone would ask me a question I couldn't answer. I always was fearful I would look stupid. When walking back from lunch, I'd try to make sure I was walking with someone "safe" so that I didn't get "caught".
What happened though, was the more I put myself out there, the more confident I got. You can do it too.
You don't have to avoid networking conversations.
There are ways to become more comfortable with those networking conversations. It does require a bit of work (not a lot though) and just stepping outside of your comfort zone a little bit.
Here are 4 tips to get you interacting more
1) Change what you are thinking
Change your inner dialogue. It will help you feel more confident. Instead of telling yourself it is uncomfortable and that you feel dumb, tell yourself that you can handle it.
When you change what is going on in your mind, your experience of it will change too
2) Change your body language
By changing your posture, not only do others see you as confident, YOU feel more confident. Stand up tall. Smile. Make eye contact.
3) Be prepared
Develop a relevant question or two that you can ask others. Be prepared to answer the most logical question that you might get asked. "What do you think about this...." When you are prepared, you don't stumble over your words. Instead you come across more engaging.
4) Do things that help build your confidence.
Join your local dance or theatre group. Try improve. Get involved with more interactive activities or programs such as Toastmasters, your local Chamber of Commerce or Rotary club. The more you practice, the more comfortable you will get.
Put yourself out there bit by bit. Practice in safer situations. Before you know it, you will forget you were supposed to be afraid.
Watch here for some more tips on how to increase your comfortability when networking.
Then share in the comments box below what you are doing to help build your confidence. I look forward to reading the different ideas.
My book is out!