Have you ever felt speech anxiety when hanging out with other people? Being too scared to speak up is actually a pretty common things among us shy guys.
Freezing up, feeling out of tune with everyone else, feeling like 'it would be weird if I talked right now because I haven’t talked in such a long time', feeling like your voice would be just too shaky if you spoke up, or just plain not knowing how to talk or what to say.
If you’ve ever felt that way in any situation where a group of people is interacting, then, congratulations! You are a normal shy guy.
There are a couple reasons we all feel this ‘speech anxiety’.
Things that in a Conscious or Unconscious manner you might be scared of:
Fear of embarrassment is surely one of the main reasons most people won’t try anything new or that feels slightly nerve-wrecking.
If you’re a guy that’s not used to speaking up, being the center of attention, or just plain being the guy that ‘does the talking’; then you might find those new/anxiety-provoking social situations to be pretty overwhelming. It also might feel unnatural to you, a “this-is-not-me” kind of feeling, and the lack of social experience might add up to all this fear of embarrassment.
I definitely suffered from this one; feeling like what you have to say isn’t relevant/cool/important enough for others to value your participation. Feeling like you have nothing to say or that any intervention would just be kind of rude or intruding in the current conversation.
Whether it’s your friends, acquaintances, the friends of your friends or completely new people, the feeling of being anxious to speak up is there.
There are two basic areas you can work on here, one is ‘what you do’ and the other is ‘what you think/reducing the anxiety’.
Your mentality must change, the reason why speaking up might be anxiety provoking to you, is because your mentality approaching social situations in general might be wrong.
If you’re used to not doing much talking in social settings; then this is where you comfort zone will be at. When you try to expand it you will feel uncomfortable. Understanding that this is how it all works allows you to identify when the ‘this is not me’ feeling arises. That feeling is CHANGE.
Be prepared to change the way you carry yourself in social situations, what you normally do must change so that you naturally feel at ease becoming a more outspoken guy an overcoming any kind of speech anxiety.
On both sides:
When I suffered from social anxiety; I was scared of talking even with my one close friend. I’d always ‘run out of things to say’ and just generally shut down and follow my friend around silently, awkward much?
A little trick I used to never ‘run out of things to say’ was to get two conversation topics as backups or safety nets whenever I went out.
Think about the interests of the person who you’re going to be hanging out with; my friend loved sitcoms so whenever I ‘ran out of things to say’ I’d bring up that topic. Same applies to group conversations.
Accept it now, everyone feels speech anxiety from time to time. Don’t expect that you’ll never feel awkward again, you WILL make mistakes and that’s OK. Lower the bar for the expectations you have for yourself and feel free to make mistakes just like everyone else.
So, start working on it by:
People are 99.9% of the time being self-centered. Most times people are more worried about how they’re being perceived than about how they perceive others. So, stop thinking that being in the spotlight is all that important.
As always play it smart, to make you road to improving your social skills much quicker you’ve got to play it smart. The rest just comes with getting out and getting social.
Once you start with these basics you can combine them with the basics of how to give a speech and become that guy that has mastered this skill and just draws people in.