If you're the shy type or meeting a group of new people, you might find it hard to be comfortable as the center of attention. While some people thrive on the sudden influx of attention, others just want to hide in a quiet corner. Don't worry if you're not comfortable now. It's easier than you think to let go of your discomfort and stand tall as the center of the attention, no matter what the situation.
1. Start with a Small Group
Being the center of attention in a group of 100 is a lot more intimidating than being in a group of 5 or 10. Overcome your discomfort by starting out small. I recommend starting with a group of close friends and focusing the conversation on a topic you know and love. Tell your friends what you're trying to do and they'll help you feel more comfortable. Once you're ready, increase the group size until you feel fine around any sized group.
2. Talk about What You Know
We all feel better when we're talking about a subject we know inside and out. I know when I'm meeting new people and all eyes are on me, I feel much better talking about things I'm interested in. It helps break the ice and suddenly everyone's engaged. Of course, other topics will come up. The key is to start off with something you're comfortable with until you're not the center of attention.
3. Pretend to Be Confident
As bad as it sounds, some people will try to mess with you with you look the least bit uncomfortable. When everyone's watching, stand tall, look people in the eye and pretend to be confident. Even the simple act of pretending will help you feel more confident inside. The hecklers get quiet and you can just relax and enjoy all the attention. The more often you pretend, the better your confidence level becomes. It's hard at first, but it does get easier the more you do it.
4. Ask Questions
Not everyone loves being the center of attention and it's easy to change the focus. If you're feeling nervous, put the focus on someone else by asking questions. You'll still be engaging with everyone, but you won't be the one put on the spot. Of course, you'll probably be asked a few questions yourself. However, if you ask first, you'll feel more comfortable and in control of the situation.
5. Breathe Deeply
While you can't really take a break to meditate, you can control your anxiety by taking some deep breaths. Anytime someone else is talking, take a moment to breathe deeply and relax a little. The more relaxed you are, the less likely you are to be bothered by some extra attention. If you know you'll be in a situation like this beforehand, spend 15-20 minutes meditating and giving yourself a pep talk. It'll help you relax and stop focusing on your fear.
I know it doesn't sound like it'd help, but smiling helps make you feel better. Plus, it puts the people around you at ease. With less tension, it's easier to feel more comfortable as the center of attention. If you're having trouble smiling, think of something you truly love or enjoy. Let that one thing become your focus. You'll find it much easier to smile after that.
7. Ask for Help
No matter what situation you're in, it's okay to ask for back up. I always feel like the center of attention when I meet a new group of people. To help me feel more comfortable, I have someone I know and trust come with me whenever possible. Their presence helps me relax and if I can't think of something to say, they come to the rescue. While it's not always possible, do this whenever you can and before long, you'll feel comfortable on your own.
While some of us are perfectly happy in the spotlight, many of us aren't. That's okay, but there are still times when you'll be pushed to the center for all the see. When that happens, relax, be yourself and don't panic. How do you handle being the center of attention?