While technology has bridged many social gaps over the last century, it has also created wider chasms for those who are introverted by nature like me or who suffer from social anxiety. Many who would normally find it difficult to manage a local business are thriving on the web, but when it comes to interacting on camera or in person, their anxiety still gets the best of them and they can easily give in to the desire to withdraw and avoid more opportunities for marketing and affiliating.
While each one of us will have to battle our own peculiar foundations of anxiety, there are a few tricks we can try to at least get us through those uncomfortable moments.
5 Tips to Overcome Social Anxiety
1. When making an appointment to meet with a client or prospective affiliate, take the reins and direct them to a rendezvous point that you are comfortable with. Avoid your personal turf as this may make you nervous about first impressions and the presentation of your home or work space. Instead, choose a place you frequent and personally enjoy. A coffeehouse or cafe, perhaps? A local art exhibit with seating? Maybe even an arboretum or botanical garden? Choose a day and time in your schedule that is not bogged down by appointments or stressful situations. Allow yourself 1-3 hours of free time before the meeting, even if you have to hire a babysitter and leave the house hours early for some serenity and peace of mind.
2. Prepare days in advance and revisit your plan the night before (then go to bed early). Do not rush over your presentation the morning prior or even the last hour. Don’t rely on your phone for last-minute searches. Unless you are exchanging phone numbers or emails, keep the phone in your purse for the entire meeting. Be prepared. Make notes. Print off a list of key discussion points if you have to. Heck, print them a copy too!
3. Spend some time outdoors an hour or more before the meeting. Go for a brisk walk, sit on a park bench, visit the lake or stream. Take in the sights and sounds of a natural environment before you’re enclosed in artificiality for the meeting. Breathe deeply. Feel the sun on your face. Smell the rain. Watch the birds. If you can only spare a few minutes, park farther away from the rendezvous point and walk there instead.
4. Arrive 30 minutes early to the meeting place and make yourself at home. Order a refreshing drink but be mindful of the effects caffeine and alcohol could have on your anxiety. Caffeine will excite the nerves, make you feel jittery, and cause you to talk too fast or lose your train of thought during the meeting. And, even a small amount of alcohol may cause you to be unnaturally friendly and you might divulge too much information about your private life or your business. Something warm and sweet might be just the trick to help you relax and perk up a bit before the meeting.
5. Do NOT bring your children with you to the meeting. I have done this and well … Do NOT bring your spouse and have them wait somewhere during the meeting. This is not about the opinion of the client or affiliate. This is about YOU. As darling and cooperative as your children may be and as supportive and patient as your husband may be, you cannot have your concentration divided between your business meeting and the safety/needs of your children or your business meeting and the contentment of your spouse. Go alone. Relax. Take all the time you need.
Whatever you decided to do remember you can succeed and create the success in your business you so desire and I hope these tips that have helped me help you too!