Are you afraid of public speaking? Want to make a good first impression? It’s not easy to find a way to overcome social anxiety and awkwardness. The good news is that thanks to the new psychological research, anyone can reduce their fears and insecurities in a simple way.

From time to time, each of us gets into a situation when it is particularly necessary to have self-control and show confidence. It takes a lot of courage, for example, to start a talk with a pretty girl or a handsome young man at a party. Even if you don’t suffer from a social anxiety disorder, such situations can be challenging for anyone.

Everyone wants to make a positive first impression on a potential employer at the job interview or win an important client at a business meeting.

Few people’s self-confidence is at such a high level that they do not get anxious in such challenging social situations. How to combat that nervousness and self-doubt when you need to make a good impression?

To overcome social anxiety, talk to yourself

According to a new psychological study, the best way to conquer fear is to talk to yourself. Or rather talk about yourself in the third person, necessarily calling yourself by name.

For example, it is better to say: “Anna is very well prepared for the exam” than “I am very well prepared for the exam.”

According to the authors of the study, referring to oneself in the third person significantly reduces social fears, while talking to oneself in the first person doesn’t have the same effect.

Psychologists of the University of Michigan conducted a series of experiments, comparing the effect of referring to oneself in the first and third person in a number of social contact situations.

The experiments have shown that the subjects who talked to themselves in the third person felt much more confident when speaking in public and managed to make a better first impression on strangers.

Talking to yourself in the third person sounds like an easy way to overcome social anxiety, doesn’t it? I will definitely try this. What about you? Do you find this method effective?

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This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. John McGuirk

    Haven’t come across this idea before. Very interesting. I shall have to look into this more… Thanks for posting!

  2. Brook

    This is very interesting. Maybe by referring to yourself in the third person, during introspection, you become more mindful and present, rather than being stuck on your negative view of the future.

  3. Otto Bhan

    Quite right Brook, the psychological distancing of the third person, the act of dissociation activates different neurological responses on the person. Like a Dr. or first responder to scene of horrific injury victims, they are trained to adopt dissociative mental state to damp down emotions that hinder their ability to help the victims.

    I’m pleased to see some empirical evidence supporting cognitive and brief therapy techniques.

    There are dozens more theoretical advances in the field of Psychology that have been effectively utilized for decades. NLP, Neurological Linguistic Programming, comes to mind. It is an Epistemology of astounding merits.

    John, you might like to check out 4tuples and perceptual positions in the NLP resources, when you wish.

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