As Tony Robbins says, "All it takes to change a condition is a decision." Once a person understands they are an introvert, all they have to do is make a decision to improve. Here are my top 5 tips on overcoming the condition:
- Look for local neighborhood groups to meet with and consider joining. Church groups, scouting groups, civic groups, PTA groups, or political campaigns are great ways to get involved and get used to being around people who you don't know well. The more comfortable you become in small groups of relative strangers who share common interests, the easier it will be to make friends and strike up conversations.
- Volunteer at organizations that make it easy to connect with your target employment. Your local Chamber of Commerce, Better Business Bureau, Small Business Administration or SCORE offices are frequently looking for volunteers from the local business community to help staff events. These organizations also know many of the businesses in town that you want to get to know and they can help make introductions for you once they've learned more about you.
- Join your local Business Networks International (BNI) Chapter, or any local association for your profession. These people are the professional networkers in most areas. They know who you need to meet and they how to get you to them. Most of all, they were new at networking once just like you are and they understand your anxiety. BNI, in particular, is exceptional at welcoming in the novice networker and teaching him to be a pro.
- Get on Facebook and LinkedIn and participate. Find groups to join online that meet locally and jump into the conversation. This is a great way to get to know people in a less threatening way but still start to broaden your network. But remember, sooner or later you'll need to get out of your shell and shake a hand.
- Become great at small talk. Ask simple non-threatening questions that get people talking about their favorite person, themselves! "Hi! What brings you out to the meeting today?" "Hi! What do you do for a living? That's really interesting. How did you get into that?" "Hi! This is my first time here. Can you show me the lay of the land?" Asking for help or getting people talking about themselves allows others to shine and takes the pressure off of you. Sooner or later, though, they're going to want to know about you too.
The most important thing to remember is to just be you. Be genuine and authentic. It's ok to be nervous. We were all there once and we all had to break the shell and let people in.
Dave Lakin is a nationally recognized Speaker, Trainer, and Coach based out of Huntsville, Alabama. Dave has a solid reputation for quick results and an innovative approach to problem solving. After a lifetime in the military, he is passionate about leadership and helping people find and engage their leader within. He helps teams to truly communicate, take charge of their environment, and work together to achieve common goals.
Dave often describes himself as an organizational troubleshooter. He works with executives and their teams to fine tune their business and help make it produce most efficiently, effectively and profitably. He helps you not only reach for higher goals but to achieve them as well.