Yay!! I went to my conversation meeting yesterday and I had a great time. The people there were very nice and supportive. We even had some native speakers there who were willing to help and to sit with us patiently as we tried our best to communicate our thoughts in Spanish. What a great bunch of people! 🙂
So what did I do to overcome my shyness? Here are four things that I did prior to my meeting:
1. Challenging my irrational fear
To do so, I had to notice my thought processes. Here were some examples on what went on in my head: “I am afraid that people will be mean to me. I am afraid I’m not accepted by the group and be isolated.” Irrational, don’t you think? How could I predict how stranger will behave toward me? After shaking my head to myself, I decided that I don’t want to believe in this thoughts. One caveat on challenging myself though, is that I have to do it with compassion and not judgment, otherwise, I would feel more awful than before.
2. Recognizing the feeling but not acting on it
After observing my irrational thoughts, I asked myself what I really felt and where I felt it. Of course my good friend fear came as quickly as she can. Paying attention to my body, I am noticing that I tighten up my shoulder and chest, as if I was trying to protect myself. Knowing this, I soothed myself by trying to imagine what I would say were I to have a child who were afraid, and I loosened up my muscles around my chest. My friend fear came and went. She knew that she could come but she would not be served anything.
3. Holding myself accountable to what I wrote
The great things about writing this blog is that I feel that you guys are wanting me to go, and will hold me accountable to my words. I think this is why people said that if you write your goals, you will be more likely to reach it, and if you have accountability partner(s), you will also be more likely to get to where you want.
4. Finding fun in the activities
I know… I know… it is not always possible to find something interesting in the activities that we have to do. Lucky me that for this meeting, I like the topic. That really covers the pains in driving and finding parking – oh, and of course my fear and dislike in having to talk to strangers. So concentrating on how fun it would be to talk about our common interest, I was able to feel more positive. As I felt positive and confident, people seemed to react positively as well. At the end, I had a blast!!
Well, that’s all folks! That’s all that I can think of. How about you? How do you usually handle meeting up with strangers? Any experts in networking out there that would like to share their tips?