The Skills Shy People Struggle With (And How to Learn Them)
September 6, 2017
As a shy person myself, I know that shyness can be a disadvantage in the workplace.
Shyness can prevent you from speaking up for what you want. Shyness can cause your good work to go unnoticed. Shyness can prevent you from forming key relationships.
Shyness, ultimately, can hold you back from becoming the professional you want to be.
The good news: it doesn’t have to be that way. You, like me, might always be an innately shy person. But, by spending time learning skills shy people often struggle with, you'll gain confidence in those areas. And that confidence will trump over your shyness and allow you to turn a weakness into a strength.
So here are the skills that hold shy people back in the workplace, coupled with courses that teach them:
1. Communicating Confidently
The most obvious area shy people struggle with is communicating confidently. It’s easier for people like me to let things pass or avoid conversations completely, as opposed to speaking up for ourselves.
And this means good ideas go unheard. Or, we get put into situations we shouldn’t be in. Neither is a good outcome.
A LinkedIn Learning course that can help: Communicating with Confidence
There’s nothing shy people hate more than networking. Like, myself personally, I’d rather do just about anything than mingling with a bunch of people I don’t know.
But building relationships is key to growing your career. So avoiding networking isn’t a solution: networking, despite your feelings about it, has its advantages.
A LinkedIn Learning course that can help: Professional Networking
It isn’t easy for shy people to negotiate. People generally avoid conflict anyway, and it’s particularly hard for shy people to engage in divisive conversations.
I say enough is enough. By learning how to negotiate, you can overcome your innate shyness and get the deal you deserve.
A LinkedIn Learning course that can help: Negotiation
4. Saying No
Similar to the last point, shy people tend to avoid divisive conversations. So, sometimes we will say yes to something, just to avoid saying no.
This isn’t good. Learning to say no is a key skill all professionals should learn, as its an essential ingredient for successfully managing for your time.
A LinkedIn Learning course that can help: Learning to Say No
5. “Tactful Self-Promotion”
This is a euphemism for bragging. And, like it or not, all professionals should learn how to brag about themselves – in a way that isn’t obnoxious.
Why? Say you run a project and its successful. Your ability to tout that success will help you get funding to do it again, or take on a bigger project.
Frankly, the business runs better if leaders know what you’ve accomplished, and it’s your responsibility to make those accomplishments known – not the leader’s job to go seek them out.
A LinkedIn Learning course that can help: Tactful bragging
6. Influencing Others
No matter how smart you are, no matter how talented, there’s only so much you can do alone. Big successes in life require the support of many people.
To get that support, you need to be able to influence others. Unfortunately, shy people tend to struggle in this area.
A LinkedIn Learning course that can help: Influencing Others
7. Public Speaking
Finally, there’s the scary, and then there’s the truly horrifying. Public speaking falls into the latter group for shy people.
But, if you want to be at the very top of your profession, you need to be able to speak in public. Heck, Warren Buffett spends his days investing in stocks, and yet he said learning how to speak publicly was essential to building his career. Or, even a writer like Stephen King has to speak publicly at fan events and to promote his book.
Don’t let a fear of speaking stop you from reaching your dreams. Like Buffett found out, this is something you can overcome via learning.
A LinkedIn Learning course that can help: Overcoming Your Fear of Public Speaking
These are skills shy people generally struggle with. Just like there are skills that indecisive people struggle with or aggressive people struggle with or analytical people struggle with.
The bigger point is that we all are born with strengths and weaknesses. We shouldn’t merely accept these as our limits – any weakness can be overcome.
While that doesn’t mean you should strive to be perfect in everything, if there is a skill that’s holding you back in your career, address it. Doing so won’t just help you become a better professional; learning a new skill and successfully applying it is one of the world’s most rewarding experiences.
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