Talk Less, Listen More
An issue which comes up from time to time with clients is that to make the breakthrough they desire in their lives and/or careers, they want to go out and network, but they are very nervous about it. It reminds me of when I was 19 and left home to move back to London. I needed to make friends and meet people, so I planned to go to theatre events, arts events, etc.
There was one fundamental problem with this plan.
I was very shy and walking into a room of people I didn't know was the single most alarming thing I could imagine. As well as being shy, I felt I had nothing to say, having done nothing very exciting at that point in my life.
After about 3 months of sitting alone in my bedsit, I decided this would not do. I had to make a breakthrough for my independent life or return home with my tail between my legs (and that was not going to happen!).
I took my courage in both hands and went to my first event, worried about how I was going to fill a couple of hours with conversation. And then, unwittingly, unknowingly and only obvious in hindsight, I started my training as a coach.
If I wasn't (in my mind) interesting, then surely the other person must have something to say? So I asked questions. I found out about their hobbies, their careers, their likes and dislikes, their heroes and heroines, what inpisred them, what they would love to do. I asked actors about their process; writers about their research; theatre goers about the top 3 performances they had seen.
I learnt so much, often about subjects I hadn't even thought about before. (And quite often, I was able to take that knowledge to future conversations, giving me more confidence). I met some fabulous people. And I got a great reputation as a conversationalist - because most people, unlike me, loved talking about themselves!
Through listening, I grew in confidence and of course, it is vital in my profession.
So if you are shy about talking about yourself, whether face to face or online, by all means, use my technique born out of my early fears - take the focus off yourself and let others blossom!