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Overcome debilitating shyness

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If you are incredibly shy, it can prevent you from networking, building relationships at work and volunteering for tasks that could take your career to the next level. While being shy is just fine, if you are feeling overlooked for promotions and other opportunities, it may be time to overcome your shyness and speak up for yourself. Follow this advice:

  • Engage in small talk. It may feel uncomfortable at first to chat with coworkers, but the more you talk to people, the more comfortable you will feel. Start by saying “Good morning” or “Have a nice evening.” Then you can slowly increase the length of your conversations.
  • Be prepared. For many people, shyness comes from a fear of being judged for making mistakes. When you attend meetings, ensure that you have done plenty of research, completed all of your action items and can fully contribute to the meeting. The more you know, the more confident you will feel, and that will make it easier for you to speak up.
  • Live with discomfort. At first, as you try to break out of your shell, you are going to be embarrassed and uncomfortable. Accept that it is part of the process and don’t give up.

— Adapted from “Overcoming Shyness: How to Feel More Confident,” Dirk de Bruin, www.tinybuddha.com.

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