They say that fearÂ of public speaking is right up there with being eaten by a Great White Shark.Â Okay, I made that up.Â Â
Still, a lot of people are or get very apprehensive over the notion of getting up in front of strangers and talking.Â Unfortunately, if you’re going to be successful in your job hunt; you need to do just that.Â Because you need to network – be it the old fashion style or in the new, online world.Â (I have no clue as to what I meant by the “new, online world” – I just needed to make the sentence)Â
All kidding aside, you need step outside your personal boundaries and meet people.Â I saw this article by Aaron Nunez and thought it might be helpful.Â Besides the fact that I love the Toastmasters recommendation – he does have some good suggestions.Â Â
The thrust of his article is overcoming shyness but really everything he talks about could easily be about networking irrespective of your personal communication skills.Â Â
Overcome Shyness: Best Places to Meet People and Make Friends
Do you want to increase your circle of friends? Or maybe you want to find that special guy or girl. The key is to become a leader and create a large circle of friends with similar interests. You can meet people everywhere so don’t be shy. Here are some places to get started so you can be a social butterfly and rid social anxiety.Â Â
- Meetup.com – Here you will find a great selection of groups and clubs that are in your area. You can also organize your own club and use Meetup.com to begin marketing and getting others to join. The selection is so vast and diverse, you can find a club for just about anything. From a group for African tribal music lovers to mountain biking clubs, wine tastings, or political discussions, Meetup.com has a group for everyone.
- Couchsurfing.com – This is an international community where you can find a place to stay when you are traveling. People will lend you their couch for free. The idea is simply based on the need of a place to “crash”. If someone is in your area and looking for a place to stay, you can offer your couch, or not, its up to you. (But hey, what goes around comes around. Right?)
- Toastmasters.org – Toastmasters International is a non-profit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of meeting locations. It is a great way to meet interesting people while fine tuning your professional skills and speaking capabilities.
- Active.com – This is a site for you outdoor people. Active.com provides information on find races and other events including endurance races like triathlons and team sports. This provides great opportunities to create bonds with people who have similar interests and who actively pursue them.
- Facebook – There is no other way to cut this. Facebook is one of the largest if not the largest, social networking site. With individuals creating functions, groups, and events of all sorts, you are sure to find something that interests you.
- Join a health club – It will help you stay in shape and also meet people who are also active. Just remember to be respectful of those in mid-workout, sometimes this is their “zen” time.
- Take a class on just about anything – This can be yoga, writing, painting, pottery, hot air ballooning, acting, comedy, or anything else you can think of.
- Go to museums. Many throw special events and allow you to become members.
- Go to sporting events of all types: Football, soccer, basketball, x-games, and it does not have to be just professional. Local sporting events, such as the local university games, provide great opportunities to interact with devoted fans.
- Go to Flea Markets- Some have a very social atmosphere and you can also pick up some bargains.
- Play a sport – Find a league and join/start a team. Many times leagues find a need for leaders. Someone who can keep the team organized and coordinated to participate in the league. Step up.
- Volunteer – You can meet some very friendly and genuine people when you volunteer. Not only is this a great social scene to become involved in, but can be very fulfilling as well, and provide for some great stories.
- Throw a party – Invite friends and have them bring a few more friends. Being the host or hostess is a very fun experience and places you in a dominant role as the leader of the function.
- Join a business association- Small Business Association and your local Chamber of Commerce are great places to start; the Rotary Club as well. You may learn a thing or two while being an active member.
- Go to seminars… and learn something. Knowledge is power and this provides you with something to talk about.
- Check you local newspaper for upcoming events like wine tastings and concerts.
- Lastly, don’t forget you’re job. Be open-minded, aware, and willing to engage your co-workers. Many will talk about weekend activities, movies, books, food, etc. You simply need to pay attention and provide a positive comment to spark conversation. If you do not have a job, finding one in something you are interested in can help boost you social efforts. If you love mountain biking, you can always get a part-time job at a local bike shop and learn about your interest and always have something to say.
Basically you can meet people everywhere, just start talking. You can never have too many friends. If you are shy there is a point where you are going to have to try even though you are uncomfortable. Socializing gets easier the more you do it and some of the best ways are finding people who share your interests and listening to them talk about it. If you are a little shy, the best place to start is Toastmasters. This will help you make friends and help you get over speaking in front of strangers. Another great place for shy people is Meetup.com because the people on there are also looking to make new friends. The main thing to remember is to have fun.