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PUBLIC SPEAKING CONFESSIONS FROM AN INTROVERT

Many times, when I’m giving a presentation skills workshop or teaching people how to have public speaking confidence, people will say to me, “It’s easy for you. You’re such a natural.”

Well, the fact is, I’m not a natural. couple peeping through hole in white paper

Everything I’ve ever done in public speaking has been learning by doing.

That’s right, when it comes to public speaking, the learning is in the doing.

Sometimes we must get up and DO IT!

I was afraid, I was scared.

As matter fact I still get butterflies after 29 years of being on stage. The secret (I learned this from my friend Bryan Flanagan) is to learn how to get your butterflies to fly in formation

Yes, I had to take a different look at public speaking. I realized that, most of the time, I am an introvert, but for the sake of my business I had to start doing extroverted things – public speaking being one of them. I understood that if I was going to be on stage and teach presentation skills, then I had better come out from behind the computer and show people how it’s done live.

If you identify as an introvert, public speaking can seem almost impossible. In fact, it’s exhausting and emotionally draining to express a personality that isn’t yours. It all comes down to doing a different behavior and not actually being anyone but yourself.

I created my “confident” character and behave a certain way as I stepped on stage with confidence. I learned to think of public speaking as a performance in which I was the lead actor. My character enjoys being in the spotlight and speaking in front of an audience and making people smile.

You may be an introvert…but that doesn’t have to stop you from doing public speaking. There are many introverts who have learned how to be become wildly successful public speakers, including, Barack Obama, Nelson Mandela, J.K. Rowling, George Stephanopoulos and Emma Watson. The benefits of public speaking are enormous! If we want to be compelling and memorable and enjoy our time on stage, we must burst through our comfort zone.

I’ve discovered that nearly everything we do in business is going to be found outside of our comfort zone, so public speaking had to become a way of life. Introverts can become comfortable with public speaking with continual practice. Indeed, there are times when introverts should step outside of their comfort zone and act out of “character” and step into their new “PUBLIC SPEAKER CHARTACTER” — especially when they need to take on a leadership role.

“Speaking is not an act of extroversion. People think it is. It has nothing to do with extroversion. It’s a performance, and many performers are hugely introverted.” ~Malcolm Gladwell