Danielle Dory

Got a Shyness “Problem”?

In Blog on June 19, 2012 at 3:35 pm

I’m incredibly shy. Now, usually when I say this to anyone who has known me over hm… 30 minutes all I get is an eye roll.  I project well, I carry myself well and I’m pretty good at carrying a conversation.  Still, if you throw me in a room filled with people I hardly know, it takes me awhile to warm up to people and feel comfortable.  I think that for most of us that’s pretty normal.  However I’ve learned that in the workplace this type of timid behavior will rarely get you noticed.  Yes, it is true that hard work and diligence goes a long way, but so do smiles, hellos and relationships. 

For a young (or old)  intern, or someone new to a company taking the first step towards getting to know that person around the corner, or even your boss’ boss’ boss can seem a bit intimidating.  Even waving can be tricky (in cases of unreciprocated waves, I’ve always pulled the ol’ cramp in the wrist routine simply pretend like you’re cracking your wrist until your hand is back at your side).   Although typically approaching people after you’ve already met them may not be a problem, meeting people in a new place (or just in general) can be especially tough.

THIS BBC ARTICLE written by tech reporter David Lee discusses how companies are just as concerned as we are about not building relationships in the office place.  Lee mentions that companies spend millions of dollars on creating a familial workplace.  Yet, really feeling comfortable in the workplace is up to you.  Yes, ice breakers at office parties can start dialouges, but creating a personal conversation initiative goes even farther. 

For me, the best place to spark new dialogue has been in the floor’s kitchen.  What better way to kill 1 minute and 45 seconds as your Lean Mean Cuisine warms up? Turns out Georg Ell (manager of Yammer– a social network vehicle dedicated to building relationships in the workplace) and I are on the same page.  We both suggest opening dialogue with “What are you working on?” Not only does this start a dialogue, but it helps you to learn more about the company while establishing a stepping stone towards building a network.  Follow up with, “I work in insert department how do our departments interact?” or more questions about their position/department.  Later the conversation will become more organic.  After that? It’s all up to you.

Tip: If your memory is as bad as mine, keeping a Word document of people that you meet and looking names and faces up in the work directory will help you remember names and faces.  It’s also not a bad way to kill time.  

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