Wednesday, 7 March 2012

You're Too Shy Shy (Hush Hush)

You ever gone to a party and found it full of strangers? You just stand there amongst a circle of strangers, holding your can of beer and laughing or nodding in all the right places as the speaker looks at - and maybe talks at- you all. 

(Incidentally, here's a tip to appear sociable but avoid getting completely wrecked: drink a can of beer then keep hold of the empty can for as long as you can, 'sipping' from it every now and then. I tried this and got away with it for a good two hours before having to crack open my next beer.

Alternatively, you can leave them half-drunk around the party venue and open new drinks elsewhere. Both are smashing ruses. The second one is more expensive though!)

Or maybe you've been to a club and seen an absolute bombshell, but not had the courage to approach them.

So how do you overcome this shyness?
Promise you won't laugh if I tell you?  

Before you ask, the answer isn't 'Get completely hammered and worry about the consequences later'. I've no doubt that works, but it's not what I'm about to suggest. 

The obvious answer would be to do a course in public speaking, of course. But believe it or not, I've found out that, to an extent, freelancing can be a great way to overcome shyness.

How so?
Well, freelancers plunge in at the deep end workwise. They go it alone and, to make their living, have to find their own clients. This means they have to approach people they've never met before and pitch for their business, basically telling the potential client how brilliant they are. 

Then when they've talked the talk and charmed the client into their client portfolio, they've got to walk the walk and prove they were worth the investment.

It all takes courage. And it all comes from people who, as freelancers, others think are shy, retiring, loner types. I was once a freelancer and preferred to think of myself as a lone wolf, as a bit of a maverick.

We---ll, you've gotta add a bit of glamour to the role, ain't ya!

Not only that, though...
Now this is daft and I'm just having some fun, but I also learned we're not afraid to talk to strangers on the phone. 

For sometimes, as freelancers, we are indeed loner types. There were times when I wouldn't see anyone all day, or at least until the evenings when everyone was back from work.

So when people called but had got the wrong number, I'd quite happily engage them in conversation. Even broadband telesales people suddenly found themselves welcome. Never bought an internet contract off 'em, though!

Some people would also ring me thinking they were actually sending a fax, only to be put through to a private home.  Should have got myself a fax machine set up. Could have been privvy to all kinds of information. Knowledge is power, they say!

Some other guy rang me thinking it was a branch of Santander, the bank. It's a shame I've never had any problems with Santander. I was with another bank at the time and wasn't too happy with them. It would have been a golden opportunity to give an inside story on my bank's connivance!

Then there was one girl who rang my flat by mistake, thinking it was a bakery. Twice she rang, in fact. Such potential. That could have been the start of something beautiful! 

That's how I suggest to overcome shyness. What do you think? Do you know other ways? In fact, maybe you're a freelancer yourself and have found this is the case too? 

I'm pretty approachable, and all comments are welcome on this blog. But maybe you'd like to grab a drink before you tell me anyway, just in case. 

Come on now - don't be shy!

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