I am an introvert. This may surprise most people because if you are watching any of my content online you’ll see this very charismatic gregarious larger than life type of personality on stage, but I’m actually an introvert. Many introverts believe that they can not be effective onstage but today I want to dispel those myths.
If you have a message to share or have created a product that will make the world a better place and happen to be an introvert, I want to encourage you with a few strategies that will help you get on stage with confidence.
My growth and development as a professional speaker and Emcee comes from the place of my introvertedness. How I have been able to get more comfortable on stages is unique and I believe these 3 tips from my own journey can help you overcome the mammoth fear of speaking in front of an audience.
#1 I spend a lot of time observing
If being in front of crowds doesn’t come as second nature to you then one of the first tips that will help you grow as a speaker is to start observing people who have mastered this skill. One group of performers I am fascinated by are magicians. Magicians are incredible storytellers. They trick you by crafting their words and their stories. I also love studying stand up comedians. They often have to work with hostile audiences with the goal of making them laugh. Comedians are also expert storytellers. I then watch the obvious things like TEDx talks because that’s a beautiful platform to see how amazing storytellers tell their stories.
Watching expert storytellers on stage will help you begin to see what works and what doesn’t. If you begin to think of speaking well on stage as a series of technical strategies then you will be able to learn to mimic those strategies yourself.
#2 I spend a lot of time practicing
Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, to be successful in life you have to practice your craft. One of my frequent and favorite strategies is recording bits on my phone. After recording an audio note I will then listen back to what I’ve just recorded to assess how well I can keep my own attention and convey emotion just using my voice. I also stand in front of the mirror and practice. I will then take note of intentional and unintentional expressions I am making with my face and body language.
I, of course, also record a lot on camera and will re-watch the video and adjust my voice and body language as necessary to control the effect I am trying to convey. The more I record myself and make small changes, the faster I have been able to see my own progress. As a fellow introvert I want to emphasize that winging it is not a viable option if you want to be successful speaking in front of others.
When you practice with an analytical mindset your sessions will be enjoyable. And the more details you can become aware of, the less monotonous your practice will be.
No matter how many times I have been on stage I STILL practice something as common as my opening line which goes something like:
“Good morning everybody and welcome to..” followed by the name of the event
There are so many details I can add to that one line. I can vary the inflection I add to each word to convey different moods. Words have the power to emit different energies when we consciously change the emphasis we give to certain syllables.
I’ll even practice how I use my tone and inflection based on the vibe I want to create. Sometimes ‘good morning’ sounds too formal so I might start with ‘Ladies and gentlemen and distinguished guests welcome to..’ That’s the kind of formal start that you often have to do in the Middle East. If I’m somewhere in the U.S. I might start with something a little more casual such as ‘Hey, what’s going on everybody, you guys feeling GOOD? Well here we are and welcome to….’
I practice the most basic things because I really believe in practicing and I have no doubt you will see your own results first hand if you practice, practice, practice.
#3 I am always asking questions
I love asking questions. The questions I ask range from questions within the scope of my work to details that are seemingly outside of my expertise. For example, myself and other speakers hold a microphone. But most speakers get lazy and are satisfied with simply holding the microphone. The way my brain works I wonder, do we really understand how sound is amplified and how the mic works? I’m a nerd so I’ll ask the sound guys to tell me about the latest microphones. I ask them to fill me in on their industry insights into what works and what doesn’t.
Why does that beep happen sometimes?
What’s the most optimal position to hold the mic to get a desired sound?
Yes, the mic is a tool that every speaker uses but my curiosity is wired to wonder about how and why things work the way they do.
I’ll even ask about the lighting. What kind of filters are we using in this event, what kind of color grading, what kind of editing, what’s the position of the light, and how does that create different shadows on my face and my body. Sometimes I’ll see myself and notice that my opinion of how I look is often connected to the differences in the lighting.
The people around me have gotten used to me asking tons of questions all the time. I think that sets me apart. I strongly believe if you cultivate a curiosity in the other moving pieces at an event you will gain a surprisingly new level of ease and confidence on stage.
These are the three strategies that I am constantly practicing that have helped me to grow as an introverted public speaker and emcee. If you think of yourself as your own consultant; always reviewing what you have done, acknowledging what has gone well and being honest about what you can improve, you too can see significant progress in your confidence as an introverted public speaker.
If you are an introvert and want more personalized help gaining confidence on stage I would love to work with you. Get in touch today!
Dan Ram ignites the stage as an in-person event and virtual event MC/ Moderator & Speaker at over 100 events a year. He has shared the stage with international luminaries including President Barack Obama, Sir Richard Branson, Reid Hoffman, Nico Rosberg, and Grammy-winning artists and celebrities. He has also been recognized as a Top 40 under 40 leader 2020 as well as a Top 100 Yale Alumni in Technology 2021. Level up your communication skills through his course and mastermind “Speaking Success”. His passion is to inspire people with his motto ‘Start Now Start Simple’ in building a future we all want to live in.
Here is a link to the you tube talk on the topic