Many people want to grab the centre of attraction, but they fail to do so mainly due to their shyness. If you are shy, you are nervous and embarrassed about talking to other people, especially people you do not know. Some people are painfully shy to speak to strangers.
Shy people can be found everywhere such as schools, universities, workplaces and places where people gather. In the past, we did not know how to get rid of shyness, but psychologists have paid close attention to this common problem. According to them, shyness is a manageable problem.
I knew of a woman who lived in consistent fear of strangers, whether at parties with her husband or at school functions with her children. She endured such events by keeping as quiet as possible, not looking anyone in the eye. She used to wait for the end of the function to go home with her husband.
However, she was conscious of the fact that others noticed how uncomfortable she was. Heeding to her husband’s advice, she consulted a psychologist and learned how to overcome her shyness using certain techniques. She was asked to take part in activities in her circle of friends. She attended school functions with added enthusiasm. What she realised baffled her. She soon discovered that she was not alone in her problematic situation.
Shyness is usually regarded as a childhood stage that most people outgrow. However, some people take a long time to get rid of their shyness and there are others who would never outgrow their shyness.
Philip Zimbardo, a Stanford University psychologist and author of Shyness: What it is, what to do about it found that about 40 percent of the people he interviewed described themselves to be shy. According another psychologist, the figure stood at 48 percent.
Although most people believe that only a minority of people are suffering from shyness, the real situation is quite different. Psychologists have found that people experience shyness in stressful situations such as speaking in public. When it comes to shyness, both males and females are equally shy. According to experts, shyness can be overcome by following certain steps.
Maintaining a journal will be helpful to discover the root cause of your shyness. Such a written record is easy to maintain and it will be an effective therapy. The record you keep will let you into surprising facts.
Some youngsters find it difficult to speak to members of the opposite sex because of their shyness. As a result they will find it difficult to engage in a meaningful dialogue or go out with their partners. What is more, they will not be able to make future plans.
Psychologist Jonathan Cheek, author of Conquering shyness: A personalised approach says: “Two-thirds of shy people can identify specific events in their lives that contributed to their shyness. Once the causes are identified, you can deal with them in a constructive way.”
Another method of getting rid of shyness is to rehearse yourself as an unshy person. You may find it difficult to do so at the beginning. However, constant practice will help you to become a different person who is not shy of other people. This method has been put into practice by several people who have reaped good results.
You will be surprised to hear that many popular entertainers are shy people. However, they lose their shyness when they perform on stage. There are some local performers who are extremely shy, but they manage to do their acts without shyness. Eventually they will get rid of shyness. American TV show hosts Johnny Carson and David Letterman were well-known shy people. However, when they were on stage they did not show any signs of shyness.
If you are a shy person, join the Toastmasters Club or any debating team where you will be compelled to speak in public. You will note that many people who address political rallies lose their shyness quite easily. Some students fight shy of meeting the principal or any other person in authority. There are employees who feel shy to speak to their bosses. If you entertain shyness, the best way to get over the situation is to rehearse what you are going to say or do beforehand. It will do wonders.
If you are going to address a meeting, try to find out the background of the people in the audience. Such information will help you to get close to them and talk to them without feeling shy. Seasoned politicians know this trick. Some of them even mention the names of the people in the audience. Great speakers smile and wave to the audience and create a bond before addressing them. By doing so, they get rid of their shyness.
You will not feel shy if you can share your knowledge with similar-minded people. I knew of a very shy person who used to collect stamps as a hobby. One day he was invited to attend a meeting of philatelists. When he started sharing his knowledge of stamps he no longer felt shy. For the first time in his life he became less shy in speaking in public.
Shy people should be mindful of their body language. If they send out signals of withdrawal, it will be bad for them. To avoid adverse body language signals, smile with others and shake hands with them. Friendly physical touches will produce good results. Maintain eye contact affirming that you are interested in them. Show signs of friendliness and positive responses to attract the attention of others.
To get rid of shyness, discuss your greatest fears in front of fellow shyness-sufferers. If you are asked to address a group of unknown people, look at them and smile. Do not show any signs of shyness. Think that they are known people whose names you have forgotten. Address them as “My friends” instead of the traditional “Ladies and gentlemen.” When you treat your audience as a group of friends, they will be with you until you finish your speech.
Even if you feel shy inside, never show it. By doing so, you will be refusing to stand on the sidelines of life. Grab the centre of attraction!