I’m shy. I’m an introvert. I’m a listener, not a talker. A reader, not a speaker. A thinker, not a babbler. You get the idea.
I’m working on it.
It’s a constant battle for improvement. Extroverts have a hard time understanding it. They are easily friendly conversationalists, who hardly feel awkward in social or business situations. They can naturally be themselves and not be afraid of saying the wrong thing or caring even if they do. The extroverts dominate the business meetings, for better or for worse, and tend to reap the benefits of their exuberant personalities. In the professional world, basting in the spotlight can be a good thing. Avoiding it, as I tend to do, can result in professional stagnation.
I’ve gotten a lot better. I’m still referred to as “the quiet one” at work, but not because I don’t speak up when I need to. I may not blab a lot for the sake of filling the air with conversation, but I am better about saying what needs to be said, and responding to an already existing conversation–therefore establishing a presence. I still feel like I need to work harder than the extroverts, and allow my work to speak for me (hoping that my bosses notice.) But a lot of progress has been made from the girl who was occasionally accused of being a mute in high school.
I still need to work harder on it though. Especially when it comes to promoting my handmade business in face-to-face situations.
What happens in reality:
Observer: What a cute barrette! Did you make it?
My Response: Thank you! I did.
*The conversation ends.*
What SHOULD happen:Observer: What a cute barrette! Did you make it?
My response: Thank you! Yes I did! I have lots more too! You can see see them in my online Etsy shop. Here’s my business card. I also do special orders, so if there is something that you would like in differentiate colors or in a different design, you can let me know.
Observer: Thanks! *takes card*
The worst thing that could happen is the example observer will throw my card away and never visit my shop. Which would, of course, be no different from the conversation prior in which I never mentioned it. On the plus side, he or she might actually visit my shop, share it with someone else, and increase my possibilities of drumming up business.
Conclusion? Overcoming shyness pays off.
Ways I can work to overcome it:
- Wear my product
- Always carry business cards
- Encourage those I talk to to share my shop with someone else. (e.g. “If you’re not the jewelry-wearing type, maybe you know someone who would appreciate a place where she can get some.”)
This is all a lot harder than it appears on paper. The internet is my safe zone. I don’t feel ashamed or embarrassed asking my friends to come see my stuff at a craft fair on Facebook, but in real life, especially with complete strangers, it takes a lot more effort than one would think. Hopefully, with preparation and practice, I’ll get better at face-to-face promotion.
Do you struggle with shyness? If so, how do you deal with it?