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Are You Shy? Use It to Your Advantage

Are You Shy? Use It to Your Advantage

Shyness can affect how you feel, think and act in front of others. Research on shyness reports that almost half of adults are affected with normal shyness, and up to 15% with extreme shyness. Although you might think of yourself as being the only shy person amongst your friends, chances are that many more feel the same way inside.

Do you find yourself avoiding eye contact, laughing nervously or generally feeling out of place when around others? Thoughts like what or what not to say, whom to speak to, and what to do when things feel awkward can run at a thousand miles per hour inside your head. Remember, these are just some of the things that experiencing shyness typically results in. Knowing this will help you start to harness the true power that shyness can bring to your personal growth and relationships.

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Silence is powerful

Giving other people full attention as you listen to what they have to say can have a tremendous impact on the conversation. Shy people often don’t say things just for the sake of talking. This makes them incredible listeners. By making others feel heard, they will feel able to confide in you and share more on a personal level. This encourages meaningful conversation and the chance to genuinely connect with others.

Being in this position also adds to your wealth of knowledge and understanding of this world. Take advantage of the chance to listen to others. This will only increase the thoughtfulness of your replies when you have something to add, making your impact all the more influential.

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Harness your non-verbal language

Talking isn’t the only way to get a message across, or even to make friends. If the thought of conversation makes you feel nervous, use your non-verbal body language to show your concern instead. Think about being in a crowded room full of strangers talking. You would be much more likely to approach someone who smiles at you warmly, even if you didn’t feel like joining in.

Non-verbal language is the key to making others feel more welcome and relaxed. Sending a smile that conveys “hello” can make people warm to you as much as being the wittiest line of self-introduction. Remember that body language is contagious, and you can help others feel comfortable around you even without saying a word.

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Help other shy people

We have all felt shy at some point in our lives. Not everyone will remember to use their experience for good. Shy people can often acutely remember the nervousness they feel in new social situations. If that is the case for you, look at your life and see if you can spot anyone else who may have just joined your workplace, school or social group. Think back to a time when you may have felt anxious about entering the new and unknown, and how any help to integrate would have been appreciated. Shyness is a great gift for bonding with other shy people, and a blessing to help those who may experience what you went through.

Document your journey

Introspection is second nature to those who experience shyness. It can be a double-edged sword, especially if you choose to focus on the negative self-talk that comes with being shy. However, using it to learn more about yourself and where you can take it from there in the future is an extremely effective tool for personal growth.

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By using your shyness as a springboard to look ahead, rather than as a scapegoat for regrets in life, you maximize the opportunities to learn from what your inner voice is telling you. Feeling shy is simply the beginning, not the end. Telling yourself “I feel shy, now what?” can help to acknowledge the discomfort that arises from certain situations, and refocus your mind on what actually needs to be done. When you learn to grow from past experiences, shyness can be very empowering and help both yourself and others.

Featured photo credit: Woman’s Hand Reaching With Hope To Catch A Balloon Against Blue Sky by Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

When giving a presentation or speech, you have to engage your audience effectively in order to truly get your point across. Unlike a written editorial or newsletter, your speech is fleeting; once you’ve said everything you set out to say, you don’t get a second chance to have your voice heard in that specific arena.

You need to make sure your audience hangs on to every word you say, from your introduction to your wrap-up. You can do so by:

1. Connecting them with each other

Picture your typical rock concert. What’s the first thing the singer says to the crowd after jumping out on stage? “Hello (insert city name here)!” Just acknowledging that he’s coherent enough to know where he is is enough for the audience to go wild and get into the show.

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It makes each individual feel as if they’re a part of something bigger. The same goes for any public speaking event. When an audience hears, “You’re all here because you care deeply about wildlife preservation,” it gives them a sense that they’re not just there to listen, but they’re there to connect with the like-minded people all around them.

2. Connect with their emotions

Speakers always try to get their audience emotionally involved in whatever topic they’re discussing. There are a variety of ways in which to do this, such as using statistics, stories, pictures or videos that really show the importance of the topic at hand.

For example, showing pictures of the aftermath of an accident related to drunk driving will certainly send a specific message to an audience of teenagers and young adults. While doing so might be emotionally nerve-racking to the crowd, it may be necessary to get your point across and engage them fully.

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3. Keep going back to the beginning

Revisit your theme throughout your presentation. Although you should give your audience the credit they deserve and know that they can follow along, linking back to your initial thesis can act as a subconscious reminder of why what you’re currently telling them is important.

On the other hand, if you simply mention your theme or the point of your speech at the beginning and never mention it again, it gives your audience the impression that it’s not really that important.

4. Link to your audience’s motivation

After you’ve acknowledged your audience’s common interests in being present, discuss their motivation for being there. Be specific. Using the previous example, if your audience clearly cares about wildlife preservation, discuss what can be done to help save endangered species’ from extinction.

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Don’t just give them cold, hard facts; use the facts to make a point that they can use to better themselves or the world in some way.

5. Entertain them

While not all speeches or presentations are meant to be entertaining in a comedic way, audiences will become thoroughly engaged in anecdotes that relate to the overall theme of the speech. We discussed appealing to emotions, and that’s exactly what a speaker sets out to do when he tells a story from his past or that of a well-known historical figure.

Speakers usually tell more than one story in order to show that the first one they told isn’t simply an anomaly, and that whatever outcome they’re attempting to prove will consistently reoccur, given certain circumstances.

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6. Appeal to loyalty

Just like the musician mentioning the town he’s playing in will get the audience ready to rock, speakers need to appeal to their audience’s loyalty to their country, company, product or cause. Show them how important it is that they’re present and listening to your speech by making your words hit home to each individual.

In doing so, the members of your audience will feel as if you’re speaking directly to them while you’re addressing the entire crowd.

7. Tell them the benefits of the presentation

Early on in your presentation, you should tell your audience exactly what they’ll learn, and exactly how they’ll learn it. Don’t expect them to listen if they don’t have clear-cut information to listen for. On the other hand, if they know what to listen for, they’ll be more apt to stay engaged throughout your entire presentation so they don’t miss anything.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm4.staticflickr.com

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