Shyness, according to Psychology Today, is “the awkwardness or apprehension some people feel when approaching or being approached by other people.”
Shy people often “desperately want to connect with others, but don’t know how or can’t tolerate the anxiety that comes with human interaction.”
That means there’s a good chance you’ll have to deal with shy people at the office, networking events, or client meetings — and it may behoove you to know how to approach them.
We asked Stoker for his tips on making a shy person feel at ease, and getting them to open up quickly.
Here are the six steps he shared:
This is an update of an article written by Natalie Walters.
'Hi, I'm Jane Doe from _____. Who are you?'
While this may seem like a blunt introduction, Stoker says that you have to start with a simple, innocuous question like this to build a rapport.
'Asking questions is the easiest way to deepen or create a relationship with someone,' he says.
'If you make the first move by introducing yourself and taking an interest in the person, you will help to set them at ease, which will help you to establish a relationship with the person that could pay huge returns,' he says.
But you'll want to go a step further and tell them how excited you are to be meeting them.
Try something like 'I'm so glad we had a chance to meet today,' 'I'm so happy we're finally meeting!' or 'It certainly is a pleasure to meet you today.'
'People love to hear their name,' Stoker says.
So address them by it whenever possible.
It tells them that you really listened to their introduction and that you're engaged in the conversation.
Stoker suggests asking thoughtful -- but non-threatening -- questions that will help them to reveal themselves to you. For instance, you can ask about their interests, hobbies, or passion projects.
You can also make observations and ask questions about those. For example, 'I noticed the tennis-racket charm on your necklace. Do you play?'
Shy people don't always feel comfortable marching up to someone and saying, 'Hey, I need help with this,' so put them at ease by offering your assistance whenever possible.
Once you get to this point, you should be able to 'jump around and go where the conversation takes you,' he says. 'You just never know what you might learn.'
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