Watch out: I use "I" 54 times in this post, so this will be boring if you, like me, aren't interested in hearing me talk about myself.
When I was in high school, I was so shy that I couldn't talk to almost anyone outside my family. Through a last-ditch effort when I went to college, I got better. I then got lucky and succeeded at a lot of things I tried after that, which rescued my general confidence, and I did some focused practice, rejection therapy, public speaking, and Beeminding to fix my social confidence.
But even though I'm no longer afraid to try, that doesn't mean that I can do it well. I still feel that I'm not usually a good conversationalist. I haven't had enough practice, especially since I have always spent most of my working time hacking in my lair instead of working socially. I started to practice things like this after the CFAR workshop in March, but put it on hold after getting married when I hurt my feet.
I'm finally recovered and can go outdoors again, so I spent this week practicing: three days of the hallway track at some conferences (plus moderating a discussion), two group classes, a social lunch, a party, hosting my cofounders for hacking, and a few video calls. I'm not completely socially exhausted--yeah, I threw the "introvert" label out of my identity a while ago--but I'm also not going to the second party tonight.
How did it go? I was trying to practice three things: