It wasn't that long ago when I was shy, and afraid to introduce myself or ask someone for their name. I was worried about being turned down, shunned or blown off. But I was also tired of being uncomfortable around others. I was tired feeling lonely in a crowd. I wanted to know people. I wanted people to know me. So I faced my fear... and things began to change.
Recently a friend of mine asked how I know so many people. He said everywhere we go I seem to know at least someone. And he's right. But he doesn't know the story behind it all.
People either don't remember or didn't know me a few years back when I was lonely in a crowd.
I now know exactly the steps it takes to get people to know Nick Gann. And most of the steps are uncomfortable, and make me nervous. However, I hide it well.
First things first; I didn't hide in my shell. I may have been lonely in a crowd, but I stayed in the crowd. I didn't run from discomfort.
I joined Toastmasters in October of 2011. I wanted to be a better speaker. Not necessarily a public speaker, but a competent conversationalist. In order to build relationships I had to engage others in small talk. Toastmasters plays an integral part in that.
That speaking practice has helped me in not only asking people for their name, but remembering their name - actually listening when giving me their name.
It may be uncomfortable to call our waiter or cashier by their name, but they like it. It makes them feel good. And when we make them feel good, we get remembered. We become known.
I'm constantly asking for names, and writing them down on sticky notes or on my phone. Almost everywhere I go is someone I don't know. A name I can get. Someone I can introduce myself to. At a drive-thru, a bank, church, anywhere.
I make it a goal to meet as many people as I can. To remember their names, and engage them in small talk at every opportunity. It can be uncomfortable. But the benefits far outweigh the awkwardness.
I'm constantly meeting new people, and instead of worrying about being turned down, shunned, or blown off, I concentrate on making them feel good.
Because I always remember those who make me feel good.
Sign up for Part 2: The Benefits Of Knowing So Many People