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I felt compelled to bring you this post today because it’s something I personally struggle with, and it’s probably one of the hardest things about my job given my personality. I work in the financial field, which entails meeting with clients, talking to prospects, networking at events, and meeting lots and lots of new people on a consistent basis. Sounds great for you social butterflies, right? Not so for this hermit.
If it were up to me, I’d give up the happy hours and the seminar dinners to get in my PJs and watch Friends reruns all night…with a cup of coffee…by myself. Yes, I’m a grandma at heart. Blaire thrives off the social side of life while it can be exhausting to me. I like people, don’t get me wrong, but what is a girl to do when her job demands the exact opposite of her very nature?
I’ve heard quite a few seminars that did personality studies and after many talks with my dad (my boss), it totally changed how I viewed this “flaw” I had. Why was I viewing it as a flaw? Being shy and quiet doesn’t make you weird or even bad at your job. Once I started to embrace this about myself, I miraculously started feeling more fulfilled at work. So how do you become more social?
1.) Force it. This doesn’t sound helpful, and believe me, when my dad told me to suck it up and get out there, I wanted to slap him. But once I started forcing myself to approach people, it was amazing how much confidence it gave me to do it again.
2.) Determine talking points. One of the things that gives me major anxiety when conversing with people I don’t know well is awkward silences. A way to avoid this is bringing up a topic that is common ground for both of you, or asking them a question on something that interests them. Example, “I see you like working out, what gym do you go to?” or “any travel plans this summer?”. If you’re meeting a client for the first time, do your research. Try Googling, Facebooking, or whatever to find out some information prior to your meeting. Such as, “I see you’re into photography…” or “I saw you won an award for this…”. It’ll let the client know you have an active interest in getting to know them!
3.) Plan for the inevitable. I know that meetings, dinners, and seminars are inevitable for me. If you tackle them unprepared, you’ll leave exhausted. One seminar I took on personalities said that big social gatherings will give a social butterfly a feeling of elation and more energy than when they got there, while it will leave the hermit feeling like they just ran a marathon. So true. I have to pinpoint coworkers and friends I can attend with, or if I’m going alone, refer to step 2 before you go. Do some research on some people you know will be there so conversation will flow easily.
Hope this helps some of you hermits come out of your shell!