Communication is an important aspect of life, both on the social and professional levels. I must admit that I am a poor communicator. My biggest strength is that I am eloquent. On the contrary, my principal weakness is shyness. I have a hard time speaking in public, and this has become a pattern in my communication efforts. During lectures, for instance, I keep my questions and opinions to myself because I dislike drawing attention to myself. Moreover, many times I have held my tongue and gone with what members of my group agree with despite the fact that I have my own reservations. I know that it is costing me a lot. At the same time I am only a passive participant in discussions, which is unfair on other group members. Therefore, over the past month, I have decided to develop a communication plan to help me address my shyness.
I do not remember a particular event where my shyness began. I I have been shy for as long as I can remember. Notably, though, I am not shy when interacting with my family. I do not talk a lot, but I tend to be more open with my family members than I am with strangers or my schoolmates. Rather than being satisfied with my comfort zone, I think I need to confront my shyness issue. I must recognize, for instance, that how I relate to and with him depends on my social and communication skills. Besides, most certainly I will be spending most of my time away from my family as I grow, both on personal and professional levels. Therefore, I have imagined the various interventions which I can use to deal with my shyness.
I will begin by mastering the basic aspects of communication, including the non-verbal cues. Often, conversation does not go as intended without a proper understanding of them. The non-verbal cues include body language, such as a smile and firm handshake. These are important icebreakers, and I plan to learn to do them right to ease beginning a conversation. Besides, I have come to learn that the hardest part of communication is starting a conversation. Once that is done, the rest is much easier.
One of my most significant worries before I say something is that it will come out wrong, and hence I do not say it for the fear of embarrassing of myself. This fear is borne of past experience, instances when I have gone ahead and said the wrong thing. I have been told more than one that everyone makes mistakes and I need to understand this, and that it does not necessarily mean that I am a poor communicator. From now on I plan to consider that every time I am afraid of erring. Also, I must avoid dwelling on such mistakes when they happen. In this regard, I will be focusing on what I must do/say. The important question I will be asking is: Do I strongly feel that I must ask this question or say this? If the answer is ‘yes’, then I would go ahead and do it.
As part of active practice, I will make an effort to participate actively in group activities, for instance through airing my opinions often. I also plan to begin contributing in group discussions and club meetings. I must fight against the notion that my opinions are not valuable, or that they do not make a difference. I must understand that every opinion matters, and that the other members of my groups or class need my opinion as I too need to hear theirs. I will also practice public speaking, which is an important part of professional life today. Anytime I may be called upon to address a group of people, and I do not want to be caught by surprise. I will start with the people around me, including family members and close friends, to help with my practice. These people constitute my comfort zone, which is a good place to start. However, the comfort zone may not reflect one’s abilities best. Besides, family members and friends are people who know and understand my shyness and have accepted me for what I am. Therefore, how they respond to me may not truly reflect my abilities. Stepping out of my comfort zone can help me to see if my efforts work with people who do not feel like they owe me anything. I will, for instance, try to strike a conversation with strangers on the subway. This will also involve me joining a network outside of my class or workplace. Developing a habit of communicating with members of my networks can allow me to do the same in my social environments.
In conclusion, all aspects of communication (verbal and non-verbal aspects) go hand in hand. I must learn to show confidence with my body posture and facial expressions even as I speak. I must learn to make eye contact and smile. I believe that once I learn these basis elements of communication, with practice I will get better.