I used to consider myself fairly outgoing. I didn't really seem to have trouble making friends or sparking up conversations with strangers. I had no problem standing up in front of a group of people and explaining something. I was an extrovert.
Until I stayed home for 8 years.
Something changed. I don't know if it was lack of interaction or a shift in circumstances, but my personality flipped. I wasn't a total hermit (although there are days I'd like to be!), but as a stay-at-home mom, living on a pastor's budget in a small town, my face-to-face options were pretty limited. I focused more on expressing myself through writing. It seems like a natural occurrence.
I had times when my extroverted side revealed itself. I participated in community theatre and sang for various events around town. Nerves always showed up, but they were manageable. I loved the attention from the crowd or running into someone at the grocery store who said, "I didn't know you had a voice like that!" I know we're not supposed to revel in the praise of man, but it sure felt good to hear those things.
One day, though, I got tired of being nervous on the stage. I'd proved to myself that I could do it, but I was done. I didn't want to feel my knees quaking or see the microphone shaking. So I gave it up. I still love to sing, but I do it on my terms now. I can rock out and wail in my car all I want to. And my imagined fans adore me.
Every so often, though, I have to make presentations. I try to hearken back to those days when, as a stage manager, I would stand up before my cast full of eager actors and lay down the law. "You will be on time for rehearsals. And while I do make notes of all blocking, you are responsible to know yours." Stuff like that. But that confidence rarely comes back around. It slipped away when I wasn't looking! And...you guessed it...those nerves edge into my moment.
So how does an introvert survive?
For me, if I'm well-rested, facing these extroverted demands is much easier. It's also important for me to be prepared. I need to have notes in front of me, or I need to have studied beforehand. I wish there was an easy trick like they did in The Brady Bunch where you imagine the audience in their underwear, but that's never worked for me. The promise of a reward helps. After a recent speaking event, I treated myself to Starbucks.
I don't have the answers, but those are a few things that have worked for me. If you're an introvert, how do you get through extrovert-type events?
The last couple of days have been quite an experience for me. On Tuesday, I spoke as part of a workshop on marketing for Pikes Peak Writers, and on Wednesday, I spoke to four different classes at a high school in Denver. Through these experiences, I personally have learned a lot.
The panel was super informative! I took quite a bit out of it, although I really didn't have much to offer. Sure, I'm a published author, but I have in no way mastered marketing my books. So I shared a little about what I do and how I do it, then soaked in all the amazing knowledge the other participants had to offer. I found myself encouraged and empowered to get out there and sell my book!
Ah, if only it was that easy...
And what better way to freak out an introvert than to have her stand up in front of a bunch of high school students? Yeah, I was very nervous. But I had a great time! After talking about my writing journey, the kids did some improv writing. I was so impressed! I encountered some rather talented young writers. Their voices are all unique with so much to say!
While I enjoyed the experience, I know it could have been better. I have much work to do on my personal presentation. Going through this has shown me what I need to do, and I'm really excited about what's to come!
Award-winning sci-fi author * Christ follower, wife, and mom * broadcast content producer. And yes, I am a real duchess. http://amzn.to/2eLTlH3