We live in a world where millions of introverts are forced to masquerade as extroverts just to make a living: and it doesn’t always come easy. Here are seven simple tips for becoming a temporary extrovert.

  • greet people frequently,
  • notice the color of their eyes,
  • become a temporary talk-show host and ask “talk-show host” questions (a statement followed by an open question). “I hear Seattle’s a fantastic place. If I only had 3 hours what should I see?” Or become a temporary news reporter with endless curiosity,
  • nod and grunt – give physical and spoken feedback,
  • make it about them: not you,
  • listen to their dreams and hopes,
  • use the killer combo of Humbility – a big ego cloaked in a slightly bigger humility.

Start small and safe and grow from there. Some socially reserved people frequently look at socially outgoing types and think, Why can’t I do that? Why can’t I just walk up to a group of people and start talking?

I’ll tell you why: Because it’s not in your temperament. I’m socially outgoing, and my style is to flit from person to person and chat with them. My wife, Wendy, is initially socially reserved: Her style is to socialize with one person at a time. She’s much happier spending an evening talking to two or three people in depth than moving from person to person at a big cocktail party.

If you have learned to label yourself as shy, then my advice is to make friends one at a time—and change your self-label to something less limiting, like “cautious” or “reserved” or “private.” All wonderful qualities. Temporary or otherwise.