A gambit is a remark that is a conversation opener. One of the best ways to open a conversation is with a question.
"How are you?"
"How, When, Where, Why do you...."
We use them all the time.
I love Google for the ease of finding answers. On Twitter, I've often thought about asking a question to help get the conversational ball rolling, but then I think, "Ah, it's just as easy to Google the answer."
Has Google stabbed a hole in the heart of the opening gambit? How often do you turn to Google for answers instead of asking a colleague, neighbour, friend or stranger?
I can't help but wonder if this has contributed to the discord that people feel. Many times I visit blogs where people express a discomfort in communicating. Like everything else, communication requires practice. That means it needs to be done, often.
For some people, a question moves the focus onto the other person and unrolls the carpet of communication. This makes it an ideal tool for someone who suffers from shyness and wants to engage.
Would it change things for you if you looked at shyness as a way you use to protect yourself from further hurt? Perhaps a past social situation may have caused you embarrassment or had some other strong negative consequence.
The amygdala, which remembers strong negative feelings, triggers the stress response when it senses a situation that is "close enough" to the original one. Without stress techniques in place, feelings of flight, fight or freeze take over. Rather than being in and even enjoying the moment, the focus is on the ensuing feelings of shyness.
Becoming aware that this is happening and then implementing stress techniques does make a difference. You activate a different part of the brain, one that is not designed for flight, fight or freeze!
I worked with a grade four student who seemed as if she were shrinking into herself. Once she knew what to do and practiced it, the transformation was beautiful! By the end of the school year, her teacher remarked upon the change - she was volunteering answers and speaking up in class! Her grades improved, as well. She was claiming her space!
What a joy! And she didn't need to go to Google, only to her heart!
If you would like to find out how to help your child overcome shyness and enhance performance, please email for further information.