Just how confident are you around other people?
Are you a mouse in public? Or do you proudly strut your stuff?
When I started coaching over 5 years ago, I didn’t know exactly what kind of coaching I wanted to do. I tried a bit of career coaching, a bit of coaching on communication skills, and so on.
Soon, I discovered what I deem to be my calling as a coach: social confidence coaching.
Helping others develop their confidence in social settings is something that resonates with me because I know what it’s like both to have and to lack social confidence, and also because I realise how big a difference having social confidence can make in your life.
When you’re confident and at ease in social settings, you can have an incredible amount of fun interacting with others, you can build meaningful relationships, you can get noticed and get ahead. You too will then be able to negotiate anything.
Social confidence can effectively turn a large part of your life around.
Today, I want to give you my top tips on how to overcome shyness and develop social confidence, in the form of a simple guide. There are four of them.
1. Work Specifically On Developing Your Social Confidence
Social confidence is one particular type of confidence. There are also other types. For example, professional confidence – the confidence that you are competent in your job.
Most people make the mistake of trying to improve all of these as a whole. This is a mistake because it’s too much for your brain to handle at once.
The best way to go about it is to work on developing each type of confidence separately.
So, when you work on developing your confidence related to social settings, don’t work on anything else. You’ll make much faster progress.
2. Start from the Inside Out
A lot of people try to boost their confidence around others by gaining and displaying certain external symbols they believe will impress others: dressing with glamour, driving a sports car or flaunting an expensive watch.
While this can help you feel more confident around others, it’s a very superficial form of confidence that can vanish in an instant.
The best way to go about developing your social confidence is to start from within.
You begin by identifying and correcting your limiting beliefs. You build your self-image from within. And as you do so, your confidence gets stronger and more stable
Only after you’ve basically taken care of these internal lairs of social confidence, you should look to add to them some of the external ones as well.
3. Discover Your Strengths
Consciously or not, most people who lack social confidence have this belief that they don’t have anything valuable to offer, that there is no reason for others to like them.
This belief has nothing to do with reality. If anything, it’s an indicator that these people don’t know themselves that well and they’re not in touch with their own qualities.
This is why discovering your strengths is crucial.
So, start looking at yourself more and seek to unveil the qualities you possess. Trust me: you have plenty of them – you’re probably just unaware of many of them.
As you explore your own personality, these qualities will surface.
Whenever I coach a person who lacks social confidence, we discover nasty beliefs about the consequences of behaving in certain ways in social settings.
For example, they believe that if they ask other people various questions, they’ll find this intrusive and refuse to reply. Or that if they share themselves, others will judge them and reject them.
What I encourage them to do is to behave in these exact ways they believe will attract negative reactions, just as a test, and notice how others truly react!
Almost without exception, they discover that others react much better than they predicted.
This gradually dissolves their limiting beliefs and builds their confidence.
You can apply the same concept and you’ll get the same results. The key is to not yield to your negative beliefs and assume they are valid. Instead, experiment in social settings and see what really happens. You’ll often be blown away by reality.
The Way Forward
Apply these four tips effectively and you’ll see your social confidence steadily go up. You’ll feel more comfortable in social settings, have more nerve, be more social and find it easier to be you.
Once you can do this, creating for yourself a rich and rewarding social life happens effortlessly.
No one will ever see you as a “mouse” any more! And you can be proud to strut your stuff 🙂
This is a guest post from Eduard Ezeanu
This was an excellent post and thanks Arvind for having Eduard guest post on your blog.
I could really connect with this post because I used to seriously suffer from social anxiety, mainly because I was afraid I would stutter.
As you quite rightly said Eduard, it’s important to try those very behaviours in social situations that one is lacking confidence in, and treating the whole process as an experiment. Going in with such a mindset makes practicing new social behaviours fun, because all we are doing is testing and observing what happens.
Hi Hiten (that’s an interesting name).
Totally: practice builds comfort and it also builds skill. This plus managing your automatic thinking patterns are in my perspective the 2 crucial actions for getting more social confidence.
These are some great tips Eduard! Another idea to keep in mind is that most of the people we’re surrounded by are all operating with the same lack of self confidence and social confidence that we are. Most people are so worried about how others perceive them that they generally aren’t that concerned about us. And, in the end, what does it really matter what other people think of us? Yes, we all want approval but the opinions of others are based on the backgrounds of all other people – something we have no control over.
I’ve certainly found that life becomes a whole lot easier when we’re acting authentically ourselves.
Thanks for the guest post Arvind!
True. There are so many shy people out there you have about a 50% chance of running into one very time you meet a new person. This awareness alone can help you feel more comfortable in social settings.
Great tips. I’d add stage fright to this situation 🙂 That is something even the most suave, cool and confident person experiences, quite unexpectedly.
Funny thing – I used to be a sales/communication trainer and was considered great when i was addressing the crowd, but put a mic in my hand and my heart would go a-thumping. Nobody knew (I hope ;-)) but I knew, and that was enough. It would take me conscious effort to get myself back in control and at ease.
Loved this post. Thank you Eduard and thank you, Arvind for sharing.
Funny you should mention stage fright Vidya. I have about 10 years of public speaking experience and I’m pretty confident when on stage. Still, there was one point when I had the confidence to speak in front of 100 people but not the confidence to have an authentic one-on-one conversation with a stranger.
I guess there are multiple types of confidence and you can have one but not another 😉
I agree with you. Nothing beats a confident person if it comes from within. I won’t call people with flashy cars, killer attire and accessories as confident; they are braggarts or attention-seekers.
I agree. If you build your confidence based on your flashy car, you’ve better not crush it one day and not have insurance. Otherwise something more than your car will be seriously damaged.
I’m one of those individuals who can fake it in large social settings. Cocktail party banter is not where I shine. But I know how to approach someone, try to learn about them, and make an attempt to have more than a superficial conversation.
My heart goes out to people who experience social anxiety on a regular basis.
Good advice that you’re handing out. To take one aspect of it at a time.
One of my favorite authors, Byron Katie, says this: “When I walk into a room I know that everyone loves me. They just don’t know it yet. Fran
Wow, that quote is sweeeeeet. That’s going in my favorite quotes Excel sheet 🙂
What a perfect photo for this post. It took my breath away! Our confidence in public begins with our confidence in private, in our private thoughts about our selves, the stories we tell about ourselves. If those don’t have confidence, we can’t fake it in public. I heard a preacher recently talk about hitting the delete button every time we catch ourselves belittling ourselves, telling ourselves that we are good enough, talented enough, pretty enough, smart enough, etc. I love that image of pushing the delete button. Delete the negative thoughts and substitute positive thoughts! Repeat until you believe them!
I think there is definitely a connection between the two Galen. Social confidence is a derived of self-confidence. If you’re comfortable with yourself in your private life, you will tend to be so in your social life as well.
I love confident people because they are easy to accompanied with and to talk with but sometimes too much confidence leads to boastfulness. Well, anyway I learn a lot.
Thanks. I enjoyed writing it.
What great advice Eduard! If you feel like a mouse people will treat you like one. I’m looking forward to reading your blog!!