I was part of a training where the facilitator played a version of “This or That.” If you don’t know the game, it is a good icebreaker.
Do you like coffee ☕ (this) or tea (that)? Coffee people go to this corner of the room. Tea people go to that corner of the room.
You get the picture.
The lead facilitator asked, “Are you an introvert or an extrovert?”
Every human in the room went to the extrovert corner except me.
The facilitator looked at me with confused and curious eyes and said, “Say more.”
Here’s the reality: I love speaking, but it is and always will be a challenge. Every. Single. Time.
Not what you expect from a professional speaker and a public speaking and communication trainer, right? Some might say that ruins my credibility, but I beg to differ.
Let me explain.
🇲🇽 🇺🇸 I was born in Mexico and raised in a bilingual household. When I came to the United States, I realized that my English wasn’t good enough for English speakers (and my Spanish wasn’t good enough for Spanish speakers). After being ridiculed, rejected, and judged, I created a story in my head that to be safe, I needed to be silent.
I don’t think I am the only one who has that story.
It wasn’t until I accidentally* wandered into a speech and debate workshop before my junior year of high school that I learned the tangible tools of body language, speech organization, projection, etc.
Those are the mechanics of speaking (spoiler: that’s next week’s focus), but I also found something much more valuable: personal development, self- awareness, and confident communication.
I felt different in front of an audience. I spent most of my childhood and adolescence thinking that my ideas weren’t right or worthy and started to realize that, even though I was shy and reserved, I still had a voice.
Introvert ≠ quiet
Introvert ≠ nothing to say Introvert ≠ mute
Sometimes it seems impossible to get the confidence you need to communicate effectively, especially if you consider yourself an introvert and have anxiety about speaking up in front of others.
I think that’s what sets me apart as a speaker and as a coach. I have been where you have been: feeling muted, silenced, and lost.
Confident communication is a moving target, but that doesn’t mean leaders can’t move towards that target. That’s why I am sending you this: as a reminder that you DO have a voice and the power to use it.
Step one for all of us introverts, extroverts, ambiverts: take care of ourselves.
Keep speaking up your story,
ENCORE: MORE TO EXPLORE
MICS AND MOVIES
A feature of my YouTube channel is Mics and Movies, where I take speeches from famous movies and television shows and break down why they are so effective. This one is one of my favorite Mics and Movies and one of my favorite TV speeches.
MIC CHECK 1..2…3
Find three strategies on how speakers can build self-awareness. Every speaker should take care of themselves in different ways before the speech to build communication confidence, especially in high-stress, high-stakes situations.