Notice what other people are wearing and make a mental note, listen to their conversation, imagine where they might live, make a point of remembering names.
Not only does this give you more to talk about, it also 'dilutes' social anxiety leaving you feeling calmer.
3) Ask people open questions. Many people like to talk about themselves and will find you interesting if you find them interesting.
Ask questions that require more than a 'yes'/'no' response such as 'What do you like about this place?' rather than: 'Do you like this place?'
Once they've answered use 'add-on' questions connected to the first such as: 'What other places do you like in this city…?'
Next you can express your views. This is a great way to get the conversation going. If the conversation doesn't 'take' then no matter, you've done your bit.
4) Stop trusting your imagination so much!
Have you ever had an imaginary picture in your mind of a holiday destination only to arrive and find the reality is different from the way you had imagined? That's how reliable imagination is.
Stop imagining what others think. I do lots of public speaking and I've long since stopped trying to second guess what others think of me - it's just too painful.
Besides, what a person thinks about you has a lot more to do with who they are than who you are.
5) Stop using 'all or nothing' thinking. The 'completely this/completely that' style of thought occurs when you are emotional.
People who are depressed, angry or anxious see reality in terms of differing extremes, simplistic all or nothing terms. An angry person is 'right' and you are 'wrong';
the depressed person feels like a 'failure' while others are a 'success'. In reality, life is composed of infinite gray areas.
So stop fearing that you might say the 'wrong' thing!
Or that people will 'hate' you. Once you start to relax more socially you'll notice much less black or white thinking because anxiety actually causes you to think in all or nothing terms.
6) Take your time. You don't have to blurt things out. Ask questions and if questions are asked of you can take time to consider your response (within reason).
Don't just blurt out what you think might be the 'right' answer. A slow answer is a relaxed answer.
7) Finally, use hypnotic rehearsal. Hypnosis is the quickest way to change your instinctive/emotional response to any situation. Only think about meeting others when your mind and body is relaxed.
This conditions you to associate relaxation with being around new people. In fact you'll find that when you relax deeply enough often enough whilst hypnotically rehearsing being comfortable around others you'll reach the point where you just can't be shy any more!
This is what I call a 'happy inability!'
I now love meeting new people and suspect that my current social confidence would be unrecognizable to my fifteen year old self.
Overcome shyness now at HypnosisDownloads.com
Article by Mark Tyrrell of Hypnosis Downloads.com.