Tuesday, 31 May 2016

A Great Orator.

Just in case you are wondering, this is me. Do I look like an ambivert? An extrovert? An introvert? What do each of them look like? We are all different at the end of the day. Today I would like to talk about something that we have to face in our lives and something that you would think that I would suck at because of my personality. However, you would be wrong.

Two of the biggest fears in life are death and public speaking. So, if you think about it some people would rather die than speak in front of a crowd of people.

You would think that public speaking would be the domain of the extrovert, wouldn't you? However that isn't necessarily the case. I'll give you an example, Me. It has always been quite comfortable for me to speak in front of people. I have quite a dry sense of humour and I like to make jokes in my talks and the more laughs I get the more energy I get and the better I can speak. As any stand-up comedian would tell you the worst thing is to tell a joke and for no one to laugh. It has happened to me on a number of occasions and it isn't the most comfortable thing that you can imagine.

Another thing that I have found about doing public speaking is that I get more nervous after I have finished than before I start speaking. That sounds weird, doesn't it? Why is that? Well, because an ambivert does not like to be the centre of attention when he or she puts her or himself out there, they are putting themselves so far out of their comfort zone that when they have finished their talk they are drained of energy. So I suppose I'm not really nervous as such, I'm just shocked at myself that I have gone out of my way to put myself in that position.

Another reason that we don't like public speaking is a prehistoric reason. Our ancestors had to survive, they had to avoid dangerous creatures that were looking for a meal and that whole idea of being watched was biologically a scary one. So, when we go out on that stage the reason some people get scared is because it feels like we are being watched. It feels as though we are prey for a much larger monster (the audience). We think that they are looking to catch us on a mistake or even make fun of us when it reality they are just thinking, especially if it is a serious speech that they want to get home and do something more fun than listen to you speak.

What advice can I give you if you have to get up a give a speech, presentation etc?

1. Prepare thoroughly. I'm terrible at this and tend to be able to wing it but I wouldn't recommend this as a strategy.

2. Don't use humour just because someone says it might help. It's got to be funny or you could fall flat on your face. Anyway with humour, a lot of the times it's not what you say, it's how you say it.

3. Toastmasters. Toastmasters is a worldwide organisation that helps people with public speaking. I would recommend joining your local chapter. It is a very supportive environment and at the very worst you might meet some new people.

4. Make sure that you know your subject back to front so that you know that you are the authority in that room on that subject. People have come to the room to listen to your expertise not to prey on you. If you realise this, you will feel a lot more confident.

Public speaking can be fun if you do it right and it doesn't matter what personality you are you will grow confident from a well received talk but just remember that as an introvert or ambivert, that they might want you to stick around afterwards to socialise. Do that but know your limitations and excuse yourself when it gets tiring.

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