I think I was born quiet. A creature of inherited meekness, or possibly just my birth sign—whatever the root, I’ve grown into a very introverted soul. I love quiet, and alone time. This doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy the company of others, but just in doses, small to medium-sized doses.
I never had a problem with who I am. My calm personality has some ups. It often allows me to deal with anger, frustration, and disappointment in a more productive way than others. It allows me to observe and really assess the situation before I jump into it. It allows me to thrive without people. But my personality has a serious drawback—no one sees me.
It’s not that I need to be seen. I don’t like attention, and feel quite uncomfortable with it. But without attention, I can’t shine when necessary. And where would shining be necessary? At work of course. When it comes to making my money, I need to be seen to receive accolades and receive promotions.
I’ve decided that it is time to figure out how to be seen. I had to figure out how to feel comfortable with being uncomfortable sometimes. So I did something absolutely crazy. I went to improv class.
Improv class doesn’t require acting skills, a dream of fame, or any experience. It only requires that you are willing to take the stick out of your ass for just a minute.
Improv is about letting go and living in the moment. It is about allowing yourself to be a fool without shame. Once you’ve synced up with a classmate and moved your body like seaweed for no good reason, you’re not so worried about that work presentation anymore.
I’ve only been to improv class twice, and feel as though 20 sticks have been removed from my bottom. It’s a wonderful way to get over your shyness which will allow you to be comfortable with the spotlight in the right places ;0
Another fix for workplace shyness is presenting in small groups first. Giving weekly informal, but formal, presentations in front of 3 of my closest co-workers has helped to remove some of the fear when its time to give a presentation in front of 10 or 50 people. When preparing for a presentation in front of a large group, first present in front of just your direct manager. She will offer the most constructive criticism and feedback with the least judgment. She succeeds when you do, so she has something invested in helping you get over your own weaknesses.
Look for classes offered at your workplace. My work offers that are extremely helpful when it comes to getting over shyness like public speaking, classes around influencing others and being persuasive, and overall improvements in communication.