businessman suit and tie shaking hands in cafe

5 Steps To Crush Fear of Meeting New People

We’ve all been there… You’re in a situation with a friend or two. It’s a big group setting – and the person you’re there with knows everyone and you feel like the odd man out. People are coming up to them, and you’re stuck feeling like an awkward cling-on. It’s awful and feels embarrassing. For me, it kills my self-confidence.

At a former company, we had some consultants do a presentation on mindfulness and re-framing. It 100% changed my perspective on the fear I had of interacting with others. Although I’m an extrovert at heart – I still get nervous meeting a ton of new people!

Here’s how I learned to conquer it.

  1. Don’t Suppress Your Fear. It exists and that’s ok! You can acknowledge that you’re feeling nervous. It’s a fight-or-flight mechanism in your mind kicking in. Being aware of what is actually happening is the first step to overcoming it and moving forward.
  2. Ask Yourself: “What is the goal I’d like to accomplish during this time?” In a large group – the opportunities are endless to begin building new relationships. Maybe you’d like to score a new client, meet a new person of influence, or simply approach the attractive girl/guy you’re interested in there. Now that you have your goal, you’re ready to focus and reframe your fear.
  3. Re-frame Your FearYou’ve acknowledged your fear. Then, you’ve asked yourself a question to get back to cognitive function. You have an objective. It’s time to re-frame that fear. Here’s an example:
    • I used to be terrified of making calls (sales calls) – even when I had a tee’d up referral from their best friend. I still was nervous to make the dial. I said “I hate dialing.” I said it so much that I believed it and internalized it. So, after the presentation (I mentioned earlier) I decided to try the advice I received.
      • I recognized my fear. I acknowledged it and didn’t try to pretend it wasn’t there.
      • I determined my goal: Building new relationships.
      • I tackled the negative thoughts & reframed them into positive ones.
      • “I hate dialing” turned into “I’m focused on building new relationships.”
    • Now, I had a goal I could be laser-focused on.  The picking up the phone was simply a means to the end I wanted. And you know what, I built new relationships and nearly everyone I talked to was super nice.
  4. Control What You Can Control & Release What You Can’t. You can’t take responsibility for how someone will react to you. It’s impossible to control others… we have free will. If someone’s a jerk – it’s a reflection of them, not you. Do not take responsibility for the actions and characters of others. It’s their problem- not yours.
  5. Take Action.  Overcoming fear is like a muscle to be worked. It takes time, and eventually you get stronger every day. Stretch your comfort zone and your life will be easy. Nothing is more important than just taking action. Smile, extend your hand, and say your name. You’ll be making new connections in no time.

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