You would think that with all this social media and on-line connectedness, we would be becoming more social and less shy, but the opposite is true. This collective increase in our shyness has been attributed to several causes.
Going back to the 1950s, the invention of TV dinners may have been the start of it. Families were no longer sitting together for their evening meals and sharing the events of their day. Conversational skills started to decline. As the years and decades have passed, there has been a further erosion in families spending quality time together in what was considered a traditional family dinner. Families nowadays come in all different styles and there really isn’t anything traditional at all. Many children have been deprived of opportunity to develop their conversational skills historically provided at shared family meals.
Along comes the invention of the Sony Walkman. We were able to listen to our tunes on our earphones and didn’t have to listen to anyone else. ATM (automatic teller machines) have been considered another step in the increase of our shyness. We no longer have to stand in line to do our banking. That means we no longer talk to other people in the line or the teller. The same applies to many stores. We do self-checkout and don’t have to have social conversation anymore, if we choose not to.
Technology developed from Walkmans to Discmans and now to smartphones that can store a phenomenal amount of music. One only has to look at a bus stop to see a dozen or so people intently looking at their smart phones, earbuds in place, frantically trying to avoid making eye contact with anyone else. Its sad, but it seems to be our new reality. If we let it!
The thing about shyness is that we all experience it differently. Simply put, shyness is a lack of self-confidence and skills to use in a social situation. Nothing more … nothing less. It doesn’t mean that you are a bad person or a loser. It just means that you haven’t yet developed your skills in this area.
Unless one experiences shyness them self, I don’t think they can truly appreciate how debilitating it can be. I think the advice of “suck it up buttercup” is worthless and insensitive.
Many people have conquered shyness and you can too It will take a lot of work though. I have been fighting it all my life. I consider it a life-long journey of conquering shyness. I’ve researched shyness, I’ve studied it, I’ve wrote about it and I speak about it. Some days I am fearless, some days my shyness will get the better of me and I will avoid attending an event.
I too have challenges with shyness preventing me from being effective in business networking. Networking is something that you have to do if you want to stay in business. I’ve heard it said, that if you are not networking … you are not working! I believe that to be true. And you also have to be networking all the time.
As part of my own self-directed cure for shyness and self-confidence in business networking I researched and wrote a book entitled: Tips & Techniques for moving from Shy to Sly!
Throughout the book I provide a series of strategies to level the playing field for shy people, helping them become effective networkers. I believe that you can still be shy and be an effective networker. I believe that the quality of the networking encounters is more important than the quantity as some would have you believe.
Conquering a fear of any subject, with mastery of the subject in mind, is merely a matter of taking a series of small steps towards the goal. Actually have a plan in writing, with a series of steps leading towards achieving the goal, is even better.
I don’t think that any contributor here on Quora is able to give you a definitive answer as to how you can overcome shyness and become an effective business networker in the limited amount of space that we have for our answers. I suggest purchasing my book as it is available as an inexpensive, immediately downloadable e-book. You can start your journey from shyness to self-confidence today!
Thanks for the question!
Question originally answered at Quora.com