When I was in school, I was less assertive, more diffident and more quiet. Once, one of my uncles, whom I often spotted talking in a social circle more than what was necessary, often kept prodding me to talk more while in a social gathering where close family and friends showed up. The more he prodded, the more I became conscious about it and at one point, I started talking although I really felt that the talking I was doing was beyond a "Hi" and that it was more intrusive and unnecessary. At that point, I never knew, that I myself was tarnishing my natural profile. Yes, it was good if I did talk more, but then, it would have been more appropriate, if it could have been allowed to happen as a slow transformation with sensible talk. Instead, I was actually responding, to someone's constant prodding.
On one such attempt, I met one of my Dad's very old friends at a wedding reception and started a conversation with him. "Hello Harry Uncle, how are you?" I asked. "Oh Roy, I am fine. How is Cherian? Hasn't he come?", he asked. "No Uncle. Dad is busy with some work. So he asked me to be here", I replied. "So how is your son Uncle? Where is he now?" I asked, beautifully placing my next question as though with the elan of a very seasoned socialite. "He is fine. He is in the Gulf", he replied almost immediately. "So where is he working in the Gulf Uncle?", I asked again with all inquisitiveness. "He is in the Gulf", replied Uncle with some more sternness in his tone. I paused for a while and silence filled the space between us. Around us the buzz of the crowd and music was in full blow. Little children were running all around with ice cream cones in their hands. The decorative lights that festooned the arena, slowly started coming into prominence as twilight slowly gave in to the night. And then I placed the same question again, "Uncle, which company does he work for in the Gulf?". He gave me a death stare and walked away. I realized then, on the impact of the change, that I was attempting to implement within me. The ramifications were pretty clear.
With the passage of time however, I really developed the art of smooth and polished talking at social functions. I believe, we can take feedback and apply them with our own natural style and at our own pace and not as a response to someone's pressure messages. After all, an improvement can only be done, from a base of natural strength.