Do you ever freeze up in social settings?
Has it happened when you had a plan to do something, but when it came down to it you just couldn’t?
Would you like that to never happen again? Then read on.
Firstly, Udemy is doing a thanksgiving sale, so for the next day or two, you can once again get my course on confidence and communication for the lowest price possible by clicking here.
One of the things I cover in that course is how to make sure you don’t get paralyzed when you’re working on improving your social skills.
As I’m sure you know by now, the only real way to improve your social skills, your communication, even your confidence – is to practice it.
The way we usually do that is to decide on something we want to do better, and then go out and do it again and again until it becomes easy. In other words, it’s just like learning any other skill in life.
Let’s look at an example to make both that process and the trick I’m about to teach you easy to understand.
Mark wants to get better at sharing his thoughts in front of a group of people. Historically he’s always been the quiet one, and even when he thinks of things to say, he just can’t make himself speak up.
So Mark decides that he’s going to practice telling stories when he’s in groups of people, like his friends or his colleagues. He thinks of a story he’d like to tell, and maybe he even practices it by telling it to one or two of the people that he’s comfortable with.
Then there’s a party, and Mark shows up armed with that funny 2-minute story. His goal is to tell the story to as many groups of people at this party that he can.
Then it happens. He freezes. Every time he’s standing with a group, he simply can’t make himself take over the conversation and start talking.
Now if Mark hasn’t read this email (or taken the online course), he’ll usually give up at this point. He’ll be annoyed, disappointed, maybe even upset with himself for not being able to do what he had decided to do.
But since he did take my course, he knows better! 😉
Mark recognizes that while the task of telling the story to a group sounds doable in his mind, in reality, it’s too big of a step outside his comfort zone since he hardly ever says even two words in a group setting. He recognizes that he must break the task down to something manageable.
And in the moment, coming up with something manageable is very doable.
He simply thinks to himself, “what would I be able to do now, that I normally don’t do in groups, that’s in the same ballpark as telling a story?”
Maybe he decides that he can tell a short joke. Or maybe something even simpler, like asking whoever is talking a question about what they’re saying.
Provided that Mark picks something that he can make himself do, something that’s right on the edge of his comfort zone, something great will start to happen: The more Mark does that thing, the easier it will become to go through with his original plan.
You see, the main thing that makes us freeze up when we try to do something we had planned to do, is simply that we aren’t warmed up enough yet. That we are too much in our head. That we are comfortably sitting inside of our comfort zone, which makes it a big task to jump too far outside of it all of a sudden.
But if we dip our toe in gently and start with tasks that are just on the edge of our comfort zone, we’ll do better. Then we do something that’s a little further out. And a little further out. And before long we’ve moved all the way outside of it, and deep into our growth zone.
This is what the best of the best do constantly. They don’t start out at full throttle every time. They warm up, they get themselves going, they take it step by step. And usually, within a few minutes, they are way ahead of all the other people who are still stuck inside their comfort zone.
So the next time you’re out working on your social skills and you feel yourself freeze up a little, be like Mark. Break your task down to something that’s so easy that it feels almost silly to practice it. Do it a few times, then increase the challenge a little, and a little more, and a little more.
When you do this, you’ll find that you’ll almost always get to where you were going, and you’ll soon never again freeze up.