I’m in need of some advice about dealing with my shyness. I’m about to start a new job and I’m worried I shall be too shy to talk to people.
You know when you have to approach someone new in the office, for example, to ask them to do something or to ask them a question… well, I’m not sure how to do it.
I don’t want to come across as rude. Or look like a fool.
I know that I will need to speak to people to do my job and I’m already worried about it.
If someone comes and talks to me, I can manage because I was just sitting there, and the person came over to me. It’s more that I struggle to approach people. I feel like I’m interrupting them or being annoying.
What shall I do? If I can’t speak to people, I won’t be able to do my job!
Dear Deskbound Debbie,
Firstly, congrats on the new job! Clearly the people who hired you know talent when they see it .
New job, new start. This is your opportunity to present yourself as the capable and talented professional you really are. Clean slate and all that.
You mentioned that you’re worried when you go to talk to someone that you might be interrupting or annoying them. It seems to me you have a good understanding of the realities of working life. People are busy and stressed! And sometimes, the last thing they want to do is look up from their computer screen and have to actually talk to someone.
If they’re mid conversation, on a video call, or trying to concentrate on a very complicated spreadsheet, or inhaling a bacon sandwich before they dash out the door, then yes, you may well be interrupting or annoying them.
That’s why it’s important to pick your moment when approaching people. Look for the lull. Just as they’re returning to their desk, closing a drawer, putting down their phone, sitting back down, finishing up with someone else, or gazing into space, make your move.
You could also avoid awkwardness, by popping them a message prior to dropping by their desk, asking if they have a moment to chat to you. Introduce yourself and be clear what the conversation is about, so they understand it’s important.
Do you need to have a face-to-face conversation? Often, yes, it’s lovely to chat to someone face to face or ask for what you need in person. But sometimes, you could simply send an email.
Worrying about your new job is understandable. Instead of worrying about this, why not focus on preparing instead. Get your things ready. Work out your travel. Plan your outfits. Do some research into the company or the industry latest. Put your jitters to good use!
If you need more support finding your voice, personally or professionally, I can help.
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