If you’re shy, you know that your silence in a meeting is not because you don’t have plenty of great ideas to share. It just means you have a little bit of trouble finding the courage to share them.
This is a challenge shy people face often, but it can be overcome with practice. And soon enough, you will have given your confidence the boost it needs.
We asked members of Forbes Coaches Council for their best tips on overcoming shyness so that you can get more of your great ideas out in the open. Their advice hints at being kinder to yourself and more.
1. Set A Goal Of Saying One Thing At Each Meeting
It’s hard for individuals to speak up at meetings if they are used to staying quiet. Set a goal to say one thing at each meeting for a week. If you have 10 meetings scheduled for you to attend, that’s 10 chances to voice your input. It will get easier as you practice. Keep a log of times when you have spoken up. You will be amazed at your progress. – Kathy Lockwood, Blue Water Leadership Coaching
2. Advocate For Others First
This sounds crazy, but you already know it’s easier to advocate for others than for yourself. I’ve worked with clients to mentally create an alter ego that is a more confident version of themselves. If you can pretend to be your confident self and speak for that person, you’ll get the practice you need at speaking up and getting your ideas heard. Eventually, you’ll become that confident you. – Jessica Sweet, Wishingwell Coaching
3. Prepare And Focus On The ‘What’ To Reduce Timidness
Preparing input using “what” questions reduces timidness because you will engage in a cognitive rather than emotional process. Whether on paper or in your mind, the process is the same. Before speaking, examine the following: (1) What led you to your thought? (2) What is the essence of your thought? (3) What is the evidence that supports your thinking? and (4) What is your desired outcome? Go get ’em! – Louis Carter, Best Practice Institute
4. Write It Down First
If verbalizing your thoughts face-to-face, or speaking up in meetings is a challenge, start by writing ideas down. Some people perform better with notes and practice, so take time to structure what you want to say and use your written thoughts as a guide for verbal delivery. Boost confidence knowing you’ve given input ample thought. Read over notes to practice delivery. – Adrienne Tom, Career Impressions
5. Planning Your Comments
For shy or introverted people, spontaneous responses can seem stressful. Instead of expecting yourself to act like your outgoing colleagues, embrace your own nature. When you have a meeting or presentation, plan and rehearse what you plan to say. Go over it aloud, maybe even with a colleague, until you are comfortable. This may relieve some anxiety. Eventually, you may need less preparation. – Amie Devero, Amie Devero Coaching & Consulting
6. Quiet The Ever-Present Voice In Your Head
You have great things to say. But we take a moment to ponder, “Is this a good comment?” By the time you are done processing, the moment is gone. Or someone else says what you were about to say! The key is to quiet the questioning voice in your head. It’s the ever-present Second-Guesser. Its voice is meant to keep us safe, but often it keeps us small. Try it for a day. Raise your hand and share. – Cara Heilmann, Ready Reset Go
Continue Reading on Forbes