Introverts and Public Speaking

Two quotes today from Introvert Dear that relates to this column:
It’s not the antagonism of the crowd that bothers me, I can handle that. It’s the after-debate party that terrifies me.

Most people would feel relaxed at a party and sink into terror at the thought addressing a large crowd. For me, it was the other way round.


Someone at my November, 2018 book launch took this picture of me speaking.  Wish I remembered/knew. I would gladly give credit. It could have been any number of family or friends.

Many who have introverts in their circle tend to make inferences based on what they THINK they know:
Introverts don’t like people.
Introverts are too quiet.
Introverts always want to be alone.

 

Introverts fear public speaking:
This is where I’m focusing today.  One of the traits that many introverts share is the discomfort of small talk, the discomfort of being in large group expecting to interact socially with individuals we don’t know or are not comfortable with, in other words engaging in rudimentary small talk.  However get an introvert to talk about what excites them, what they love doing and speaking about it in front of a crowd, in other words, public speaking about their passion and you’ll never shut them up.

 

I’m like that.  I have a few other challenges that creep in when I speak though.  I sometimes find it difficult to get the words out when I begin talking.  I have a tendency to block. For a long time I avoided public speaking because I felt self conscious about this.  The more speaking I do however, I find that I’m less intimidated and it has become easier t deal with this. As this quote suggests:

Most people would feel relaxed at a party and sink into terror at the thought addressing a large crowd. For me, it was the other way round.

 

It’s exactly how I feel.  I’m so much more comfortable standing in front of a crowd discussing my passion, because I know I’m what I saying is true and I get to talk about what I love.  Get me in front of people where I have to interact socially that’s when things tend to go awry. I’m uncomfortable making small talk. I actually don’t like it.  Small talk is not genuine and I’d rather run and hide, find a safe place to regroup. That’s why many times when I’m at a social event, whether it be a family party or a business event, you’ll find me on the periphery, usually standing alone, away from the crowd.  I’m not sure how to act when I’m in a crowd, unless I’m speaking about something that people are there to hear.

 

Public speaking no longer intimidates me.  It’s social events that leave me feeling claustrophobic, causing the fight or flight mode.  And typically I choose flight. When engagement overwhelms me, I will run away to a quiet place and regroup.  Some may think that aloof, indifferent, detached. It isn’t. Simply put escaping is my defense mechanism. Over stimulation causes an introvert to shut down and they need time to regroup.  Unfortunately, many people take an introvert’s quirks and contorts them to fit a specific set of rules they feel are right. People not on the introversion scale have a tendency to try and draw the introvert out with questions like:
Is everything okay?
Why are you so quiet?

 

This doesn’t help the introvert.  In fact it does more harm to their already sense that there is something wrong with them and they need to be fixed.  An introvert can’t be and shouldn’t want to be fixed.

 

Speaking of people putting introverts into a box, squeezing them into their preconceived notions of the way introverts should behave, we don’t all behave the same way.  Some of us shrink from public speaking. Me? Not so much.

 

I’d rather be up on a podium addressing a group of people who are interested in what I have to say about one of my particular passions; then sitting around people I don’t really know well and be expected to introduce myself and do a round of small talk.  How bout you?

 

 

Be Happy!  Be Well! Be Positive!
Blessings to you.

Chris

Once you realize that life is eternal,
That our souls our eternal,
That we return to light and physical over and over;

We then lose all our distress
We then lose all our fear of dying.  For there truly is no end.

 

4 thoughts on “Introverts and Public Speaking

  1. we are so alike! I take in the energy from public speaking and love it. But make me do small talk in a room full of people I freeze – get me out of there.

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