Public Speaking and the Introvert

“You never lose stage fright.

It can happen to a veteran just as easily as a beginner.

It’s good.

It gives an edge to a performance.

I always think that when you lose the butterflies, you’ve been on the stage too long.”

From Ruddy Gore by Kerry Greenwood

Over the years, I have cultivated a deep love of public speaking in spite of my introversion and natural aversion to being in the spotlight.

Give me a topic I feel strongly about, and watch me unleash my inner extrovert.

I remember a few occasions when a bout of anxiety caused my mind to go blank, my legs to shake, and my prepared script to disappear.

In spite of these, I did not give up my quest to be a speaker.

Because when you’ve hit rock bottom – when you’re facing the worst-case scenario – the ultimate nightmare – you still have choices.

You may blush bright red with mortification.

But you can also acknowledge the humour in the situation.

This is life! This is living to the fullest!

This is you giving something your all and being brave.

You are actually in the game, pplaying it and experiencing all aspects of it, the glamorous and the mundane.

You get up, dust yourself off, and make the best of a bad situation.

Then you make a promise to yourself to work harder and to keep honing your craft, so that next time you will do better.

Most important of all, you choose to keep going.

So the next time your mind goes blank in the moment and your script eludes you…

When you don’t get the enthusiastic response you hoped for…

When you break out in a cold sweat and your legs start to tremble…

It is not the end.

The feelings and physiological reactions are there to remind you that you’re alive.

Smile at the butterflies, ride that fear, and make this moment your best performance ever.