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9 Signs That You Are Actually A Shy Extrovert

9 Signs That You Are Actually A Shy Extrovert
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I first took a personality test in junior high.  The results reminded me of Tris’s aptitude test in Divergent. I was exactly on the line, between “introvert” and “extrovert.” And my life experiences reflected this.

I loved being in groups of people and sought acceptance, but I did not like talking or being the center of attention. I was very introspective, but I liked to share my thoughts with other people.

Thankfully, as more research has been done on personality, we are realizing that there are more types than just “introvert” and “extrovert.”  Over time, I would realize that I am a shy extrovert.

Is it possible that you are a shy extrovert as well?  Here are some situations you may encounter, if you belong in this camp:

1.  We are at the party, but we aren’t the life of the party.

Shy extroverts love being in social situations, but we do not feel the need to dominate the conversation.  We may not speak up at the party, because we do not think that our jokes are interesting and because we do not always enjoy talking about ourselves. We also enjoy observing those around us, and we may become expert “people watchers.”

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One way that I have learned to capitalize on this ‘quirk’ is to use my interest in observing those around me as a way to connect with them. Most people do love talking about themselves, and shy extroverts often feel more comfortable when there is less of a ‘threat’ of being judged. So I ask people open-ended questions. When they tell a funny story, I ask them questions about it.  Inquisitiveness is a secret superpower that shy extroverts can hone, and it can provide us with a strong social advantage.

2.  We tend to be great listeners.

Because we are interested in those around us, shy extroverts tend to be good listeners. We are often able to devote a great deal of time listening to those around us, without seeming like we would rather be somewhere else. We are also able to listen deeply to the speaker, rather than just thinking about our next words.

I have found that my ability to listen to those around me (especially as I have learned to ask questions) has helped me to connect with a greater variety of people. I have developed friendships with people from many different walks of life, and I hear all about the ‘drama’ that my friends are experiencing, without being dragged into it.

3.  We are very good at keeping secrets.

Shy extroverts sincerely love listening to other people, and we do not feel the need to become the center of attention. That means that we know everybody’s secrets, but we have no desire to share them in a gossip session.

I have heard juicy, deep secrets from my friends, my acquaintances, and even total strangers in the grocery store line! And I can say that I honestly have no need to divulge these secrets, because I know that the situation is about the person who shared it, not about me. I have no desire to make someone else’s drama my own.

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4.  We love big, loud parties.

Large, but quieter gatherings make us nervous. We do not want to be put on the spot, when we would rather observe those around us and just be a part of things. We are uncomfortable when we are caught between two conversations at the dinner table, or when someone asks us to share something from our personal lives.

What we really prefer is a loud, fun gathering with lots of music and dancing. We can join the crowd on the dance floor, or we can sit down and take in the sights and sounds around us. We love to watch, and we love to be a part of it all, without having to talk.

5.  We don’t need conversation to be constant.

While most extroverts are not comfortable with pauses in the conversation, shy extroverts do not mind them at all. In fact, we welcome the break, where we can take a moment to process and collect our thoughts.

I have noticed that I become exhausted conversing with people who never pause, and that I also become frustrated when someone tries to answer a question for me. As a shy extrovert, I need that processing break. The wheels are turning, and my answer will be well thought-out, because it is not instantaneous.

6.  We tend to have long conversations.

Due to our introspective nature, shy extroverts like to take time to process things. We like to examine everything from every angle and to consider all the possibilities of a situation. And, because we are extroverts, we prefer to do this with someone else there, to bounce ideas off.

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I learned early on, that I loved to write in my journal, but that I also liked someone else to read it, so that they could give their input. It wasn’t that I was seeking approval from the other person; I was wanting a third party to see my ideas and to share their thoughts on them. I still tend to write long e-mails to friends, when I am trying to sort out a situation.

7.  We love meeting up with old friends.

When we haven’t seen a friend in a long time, it can be very exciting for shy extroverts to hear all about that friend’s adventures and learning. We love to watch how people grow and see how everyone matures and changes after a long absence. Add to it the fact that the meet-up is often a one-on-one conversation, and this becomes a perfect scenario for a shy extrovert.

I have found that I am much more comfortable meeting up with one friend at a time, and I do prefer the meet-ups to be somewhat spread out. I love to take a couple hours in the evening to catch up with an old friend over coffee, or to enjoy a short picnic with a visiting friend from my home town.  Hearing other people’s stories has always made me happy, and the stories do become more interesting after a time of absence.

8.  We hate public speaking.

While many extroverts love talking in front of crowds, shy extroverts can’t stand it. Public speaking is everything we dislike. We are the center of attention, we are not able to observe those around us, and we are set up in a position where we may be judged.

I have noticed that I stumble over my words much more when I am speaking to a crowd of more than three people. The lack of immediate response that you receive from public speaking also makes me nervous. If I am not confident, I always assume the worst. I would much rather converse one-on-one, or share my thoughts in writing.

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9.  We need some (but not too much!) time to recharge.

Like introverts, shy extroverts may become overwhelmed in large social gatherings and need some time to recharge. We might stay home for an evening, thinking that we will love spending a great deal of time alone. However, after a few hours, we become restless and start craving human contact.

I have definitely found this to be true in my life. I need my alone time, but then I also need to be hanging out with everyone else, even if I am just observing and asking them questions about their lives.

In the end, the existence of shy extroverts only proves that all of humanity cannot be divided into just two categories. We need to understand (and embrace) the fact that our personalities are much more complex than that. All of our quirks are more than “okay,” and it is really time for all of us to embrace the one-of-a-kind person that we really are!

Featured photo credit: Flicker via flickr.com

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)
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You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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