Hi. Remember me? I was the guy at your school dance or birthday party. You know, the one standing up against the wall with his arms folded trying to look like he was having a good time? I was so insecure that when I summoned enough courage to ask someone to dance, I would make sure that she was near a washroom. That way, when she rejected me I could pretend that I was just asking for directions.

If you can relate to this, you probably feel that you are shy or have low self-esteem. However, don’t think of it as some terminal desease. There’s nothing wrong with being shy. But it’s another story if you let your shyness stop you from doing things, from meeting people, from enjoying life.

Now these tips may not change your whole life, but I have overcome my own shyness over the years and there are a few ideas that I’d like to share with you to get you started.

1. GET OUT AND TALK TO PEOPLE. Sitting around all day playing with your computer or watching reruns of “Star Trek – The Next Generation” are not going to provide you with a lot of opportunities. If you’re invited to go somewhere… GO! Don’t make up excuses to stay at home. It’s the little things that cause a chain reaction. You may not think that going to your friend’s party is important, but often you will meet someone who introduces you to someone else, and then that person will eventually lead you to something that will change the course of your entire life.

2. JOIN A CLUB. Meet some people. Figure out what some of your interests, hobbies or talents are, and then hang out with people who have the same interests.

3. PERFORM IN PUBLIC. The biggest turning point in my life was when I joined the school Drama Club. I discovered that I could act and make people laugh. I eventually went on to become a professional comedian-actor. Now you don’t have to become a pro, but it is important that you learn to deal with the public. Join the school Drama Club or local Community Theatre. Take up singing or even try Karaoke. How about a debate club? Anything that requires speaking or performing in front of people will do. It is important to know that you don’t even have to be good at it. Just DO IT! TRY IT! You’ll get better at it as time goes on and your confidence will soar. (By the way, did you know that Robert DeNiro is very shy?)

4. TALK ABOUT THEIR FAVORITE SUBJECT -- THEMSELVES! Sometimes talking to someone new can be very uncomfortable. We’re worried that they won’t find us interesting, that they won’t like us, that we’re not good enough for them. We’re so busy worrying about what the other person is thinking about us that we don’t even hear what they’re saying. Do you want them to like you? Keep them busy talking about themselves. Ask them questions about what they do, about what their interests are. Eventually they’ll start asking you about yourself. Give them honest answers (don’t try to impress them) and then go right back to talking about them again. They’ll go away thinking “What a great person”. Because you’ve shown an unselfish genuine interest in them, how can they find you boring and not like you?

5. SAY IT WITH COMMITMENT. If you have an opinion, an idea, or a belief, express it with 100% commitment. Not everyone is going to agree with you, but you do have the right to say what’s on your mind. Politicians can’t make everyone happy but they know this much: If you say something with uncertainty and no one agrees with you they’ll all ‘jump on you’ and say you’re wrong. However, if you say it with all your heart and commitment and no one agrees with you, they’ll just call you ‘controversial’ – but they’ll respect what you have to say.

6. STOP TRYING TO BE PERFECT. Why is it that so many people think that being perfect is the way to go? Often, people who are shy or have low self-esteem feel the need to be perfect just to ‘break even’ with the rest of the world. They think they have to be twice as good to be any good. You don’t! You just have to be yourself.

7. BE YOUR OWN BEST FRIEND. Do you put yourself down? Do you call yourself names in your own head? Stop it immediately! Give yourself a break. If you don’t like yourself, how do you expect anyone else to?

Remember, overcoming shyness is a gradual process and often not an easy one. If you want to learn how to swim, you know that you’re going to have to get a little wet! But once you’re in the water, you’ll never want to come out.

Author's Bio: 

Art Nefsky is internationally acclaimed as a singing/performance coach and is a specialist in eliminating stage fright and performance anxiety in performers and public speakers. He is author of the book, "Scaring Away Stage Fright" and as director of Showoffs Studio for Performers , holds weekly classes in his studio in Toronto as well as intensive weekend workshops across North America. His web site contains articles on building confidence and improving public performance as well as a "Stage Fright Clinic" that helps people overcome performance anxiety through personal consultation and correspondence.
Website: http://www.nefsky.com

Email: art@nefsky.com