The holidays are getting closer and closer and with them lots of social occasions. Holiday parties, gift exchanges, family get-togethers; lots of showing up and talking and relating. Some of us may be genuinely looking forward to all this merriment and others... not so much.
If you are an introvert or shy, going to a big event may sound as attractive as nails on a chalkboard, and you may be thinking along these lines:
- I get really nervous in big crowds
- I never know what to say
- I abhor small talk
- I talk too quietly so I get talked over
- nobody is interested in what I have to say
- I sound stupid
- when I try to say something I start stuttering
- what I thought of saying has already been said
- when others ask me questions I freeze
- people look at me funny
- I'm just not very interesting
- I'm dressed totally wrong
And the stories may go on and on from here. Sounds like fun right? You could always not go, but face it, there is lots of networking and relationships building that happens at these events, so staying home may not be in your best interest. Your choices could be:
- Cringe and go and stand in the background and talk to nobody.
- Cringe and go and in your panic, find the first person you kind of know and nervously talk them into a corner.
- Figure you'll loosen up with a couple of drinks, but then you are so nervous you overdrink, and then things really do go badly.
- Many other really uncomfortable scenarios.
OR, you can prepare!
- Get a wingman. But make sure that the goal is only to have help easing into a group, and not just talking to the person you came with.
- If your negative head-talk is telling you "you don't know how to dress and you look stupid," find out from others how they are going to show up
- Think of stories that you actually enjoy telling and practice telling them.
- Be present! When you are nervous it is hard to listen and hear anything, so take a deep breath, and actually hear what people are saying.
- Ask questions. You don't have to be the storyteller. Get curious and get others talking. Find the ones that love to talk about themselves (aka extraverts;)
- If everything fails: ACT AS IF. Imagine yourself to be a great party character and get into it, perform. Make it a game. You might actually enjoy yourself.
- And if you really need help, download this link from my website and practice the exercise: Click here to receive a powerful exercise to increase your confidence and effectiveness