I used to be AWFUL with people (I more than once had to apologize to an entire room full of people for things I said or did), and I turned it around. How did I do it?
1. Accept that you’re not already good at socializing now - You’re not great. It’s okay. This is VERY IMPORTANT. Why? Because in order to get confident you have to get competent and this requires you to confront the limit of your social skills.
2. Decide what “social confidence” means to you - Next step, what’s the goal here? What do you really want to be able to do? Go to a social event by yourself and feel comfortable talking to strangers? Be able to start a conversation with anyone? Do some public speaking? This will determine what you aim for.
3. Write a list of things that must be true for you to hit your goal - Stick with me, because this might be hard, but if you’re not willing to do this you won’t also get better: write a list of things that must be true for you to hit your goal. For example, if your goal is “Be able to hold a conversation with anyone for five minutes” then your list might look like this “be able to start a conversation with a stranger from nothing, have them talk to me and not leave, ask them questions they answer, have them ask me a question, introduce myself, get their name, exchange stories or thoughts for five minutes.” This is important because you have to know what things you have to get right.
But wait Brendon! You’re thinking. What if I don’t know those things?Simple, then your list of things that must be true might read “Know what to do to start a conversation, start one…” etc.
4. Now, take at least 30 minutes a day and go out and practice these specific things - Exactly as I said. Go out and practice each of these things that must be true until you feel you have a handle on them. For most people this process, the 30 minutes a day practice process, will take about three months. THAT’S IT, just three months.
Keep this in mind: practice, experiment, go out and get OUTSIDE of your comfort zone here. This is where you stretch, where you learn what works and what doesn’t. For each of the unknowns you wrote down, things you have to know, experiment until you can answer the question yourself.
5. Keep a journal after each practice - Write down your thoughts, write down what happened, keep it fresh in your mind. Review it every once in a while. Perhaps review it before you go out.
6. Once you can repeat your intended goal 10 times out of 10 you’ve nailed it - That’s it, you’re a master at that point. If you can start a conversation with ANYONE and talk with them for five minutes you’ll BE in the top 1% of socially confident people on the planet.