Last Wednesday in my third #digitaledu class we talked about podcasts and audio as content. This naturally led to a discussion about interviewing and using interviews, whether audio or text, in blogs to add another dimension. As an in class assignment we were then to pair up and interview our partners, recording them on our phones, on a topic of their choice.

From the moment I learned about this task I was absolutely dreading it.

Although I consider myself a social person – as in I enjoy the company of others – I am very much an observer. I do make an effort to contribute to the conversation but I am usually quite happy to sit back and listen. I find communicating one-on-one to often be quite stressful unless it’s with people I know really well, and even then I sometimes feel anxious about my conversational ability because I think I am pretty rubbish asking questions. And asking questions is pretty key to this thing we call conversation.

This video from YouTube creator and comedian Anna Akana resonated with me:

Asking people about themselves is something that I am actively trying to get better at. I sometimes feel like I talk about myself too much when in conversation. This is not because I am self obsessed or vain (although it may come off that way – I hope it doesn’t though!) but sometimes I just don’t know what else to say so, as a result of my nervousness, I share a related anecdote from my life. Because I am so self conscious about this tendency and I have little confidence in my ability to ask people about themselves I often get quite anxious when I have to be in a social, conversational situation with strangers.

So when we were asked to interview our peers this traditional social anxiety of mine set in. In the end though, I am glad this assignment was a part of my Wednesday night.

I ended up interviewing Armeen of The Torontican about her experience training for and running a marathon. It soon developed into a conversation about running in general and how she stays motivated and what advice she had for novice or aspiring runners (which was quite inspiring for me), but I learned so much more through this exercise. Although this conversation was aided by planning out the questions I was going to ask, much of it flowed naturally and I felt a certain amount of ease guiding this conversation. Any anxiety I had quickly melted away and I left wondering why I was dreading simply talking to another person.

Reading this back is does seem ridiculous – to dread speaking to people. People are great! But social anxiety happens to me sometimes (and I know it happens to many others) and although it is not debilitating in my every day life, it is something I am always working at and learning from. This interview assignment certainly helped in that process.

#digitaledu? more like #schooloflife.

Do you sometimes find it hard to talk to people? If so, what do you do to make it easier?