Comments on: On Shyness Wed, 10 Sep 2014 18:53:13 +0000 hourly 1 By: Brian Shurtleff Sat, 03 Nov 2007 07:31:00 +0000 For me, shyness is really quite contextual. Running club meetings at school doesn’t throw me because I do it twice a week and they’re informal gatherings with friends. Teaching my students this summer never phased me either as I recall.
It’s when things get formal, when there’s pressure to speak well, when I get too self-aware about how I’m speaking and speaking gets difficult.

When networking, it’s a bit of a mix, as networking is largely informal yet also there’s a kind of pressure all the same. Being a student still, who isn’t looking for a job, helps takes some pressure out of the conversation, at least.
Once I’m in a conversation it’s that mix of shyness and the casual, but I’m finding I generally do well enough, particularly as developers prove to be approachable folks. Instead, it’s getting the push to go talk to someone in the first place is the trickier part with me.

But the mix of shyness and confidence is proving to be a useful mixture.
Like you said – being shy in a conversation means you’re quiet, and listening.
I’ve been told I’m a great networker because of that – I don’t irritate the people I’m meeting.
Yet if the right moment strikes, the more confident me can jump in with something memorable to say.
That’s the hope anyway.

By: gina Fri, 02 Nov 2007 23:35:00 +0000
heard this and thought of you – hope all is well – gmp

By: Ian Schreiber Thu, 01 Nov 2007 12:08:00 +0000 I was extremely shy until college, mainly because being a computer geek was tantamount to having leprosy until I attended a place where EVERYONE was a geek :)

I agree with Doug that probably the best way to start is to hang out with people you know. Clubs are really good for this because there are presentations as part of the status quo, and if you’ve been in a club for awhile and know everyone there already then it’s not so scary to present to them. Once you’re comfortable presenting to a group of people you know, presenting to some other group about the same topic isn’t quite so bad because you’ve already had some practice.

I had a boss once who was totally phobic of public speaking, and he was forced to present at an all-company meeting with 300+ attendees. Trying to calm himself as he got on stage, he recited: “okay, picture everyone in the audience…” before he realized that he was speaking out loud into the microphone. He never did say that last word but everyone knew what he meant, everyone laughed, and he was able to relax a bit after that :). Not sure what the lesson is here…

I’ll also remind you, Darius, that you were practically hyperventilating just before your first GDC speaking engagement. What did you do to calm yourself down? (Obviously whatever you did worked ;)

By: Doug Thu, 01 Nov 2007 00:35:00 +0000 I generally agree with the ‘practice helps shyness go away’ advice. I had a lot of trouble in social situations, particularly through high school. By the time I got to college it was easier, as I was usually surrounded by geeks (one plus of a smaller engineering school…). I pretty much forced myself to get more involved socially – going to parties (having access to beer helped with the shyness, but that may not be the best advice in general), getting involved in some clubs (IEEE was a big one for me – especially with the friday afternoon trips to Ralph’s Diner and then Jillians for pool).
Giving presentations helps a little too. I find I still get along better if the group I’m is composed of greater than 50% people I know well, but I’m certainly not so uncomfortable in strange crowds anymore. I just don’t talk as much.