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20 Things To Remember If You Love An Introvert

20 Things To Remember If You Love An Introvert
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I used to be ashamed of being an introvert. I wanted to be someone else. You see, sometimes it’s hard to explain to other people how it actually feels to be an introvert. It’s even harder to accept that it’s a part of who you are and especially difficult to communicate this to someone who is not an introvert.

Questions like, “Why don’t you want to go to this party?” or “Why do you look so unhappy around big groups of people?” are sometimes difficult to answer.

After all, it’s not like we don’t enjoy having fun, acting silly, or being around other people. We just want to do it around the right people and more importantly, we need the time to be quiet.

If you’re an extrovert, don’t take it personally when we don’t jump at the chance to be in large groups of people and remember these 20 things if you truly love an introvert.

1.  They enjoy quietly being alone

Yes, we actually enjoy spending time alone. In fact, we thrive off of it. It gives us a chance to gather our thoughts and recharge. It gives us time to do more things that we really like to do such as read, write, or reflect on our day. Extroverts may enjoy alone time too, but our time typically needs to be in a quiet place and for longer periods of time.

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2.  They can be overwhelmed by large crowds

We don’t typically enjoy spending long periods of time in large crowds. While we may endure it for a concert, parade, or special event, we don’t look forward to being around masses of people. After a while, it can be really overwhelming and although we may not cover our ears, scream and freak out in large crowds, we secretly wish we could.

3.  They really do like other people

Introverts aren’t necessarily anti-social. We just don’t get energized by people and sometimes it just takes us a little longer to warm up to someone. Be patient with us. Often, we want to get to know you better before we actually show you that we enjoy your company. We do like you, even if we don’t show it!

4.  They are highly introspective

We seek to find the deeper meaning in life, sometimes to a fault. We tend to analyze situations that really don’t need to be analyzed. If it takes us longer to understand something, it’s not because we don’t get it, it’s because we are thinking about the deeper meaning. In general, we seek to understand the deeper meaning of life.

5.  They prefer to get know fewer people on a deeper level

Many introverts are perfectly happy with a close, small group of friends. It can be overwhelming to keep up with a lot of friends because introverts feel like they need to really know all of them. So, they may prefer to have a select group of really close friends they can get to know on a deeper level.

6.  They are great listeners

In fact, we love to listen. It gives us a chance to really get to know someone and understand them better. Introverts are typically highly engaged with someone they want to get to know. They are easily distracted by outside stimuli that may interfere with listening, because they want to devote all of their attention to the other person.

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7.  They have a lot of fun!

Introverts are not boring people. They just like to save their best stuff for the right people in the right situation. They can act silly, crazy, be loud, and even sing karaoke! However, even reading a book can be considered fun for an introvert. Reading a book in a crowded room full of people? Not so fun.

8. They sometimes wish they were extroverts

I sometimes wonder what it would be like to walk into a large group of people and to instantly become energized by the people around me. I always thought it has to be cool to have that infectious energy that draws people to you. As a guy, I used to think this was the only way to get the ladies (it’s not). I love myself as an introvert, but sometimes I wish I could live it up as an extrovert.

9.  They enjoy a quiet night in

I actually prefer to stay home on a Friday night. I may go out with friends, a party, or out to dinner, but I actually prefer to stay in and avoid the large crowds. I live in a city so it’s difficult to truly get away and spend time alone. The best place I can do this at is sitting in my living room watching a movie or reading a book.

10.  They don’t enjoy being the center of attention

Most introverts don’t like all eyes to be on them. It can be difficult to speak up at a work meeting, deliver a speech, or answer a question in front of other people. We typically like to listen to other people’s perspective and hear what they have to say. It doesn’t mean we don’t have an opinion, but sometimes it’s hard to articulate what we’re thinking.

11.  They don’t necessarily have fun at parties

Even if everyone is having a great time, it doesn’t necessarily mean that an introvert will. A party with a lot of people just isn’t always fun. We know it’s supposed to be fun bu, large numbers of people in small spaces actually make us feel uncomfortable. It doesn’t mean we aren’t fun people or don’t enjoy people, it’s just hard to be ourselves in large groups.

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12.  They don’t like to talk about themselves

Introverts typically don’t like to brag about themselves. They are more interested in getting to know the other person first. They often have a lot to offer to a conversation but sometimes wonder if they add any value to a conversation. Also, they just don’t want to come across as a too much of a know-it-all. In other words, we might not say out loud how “stoked” we are about something.

13.  They want to really get to know you

We like to build honest, authentic, “real” relationships. Sometimes it doesn’t come across that way initially because we can be guarded. However, we are interested in you and what you have to say. It just takes us a little more time to open up. We secretly revel in the excitement of getting to know someone better.

14.  They work better in small groups

Employers should know that we prefer to work in small groups because it’s just easier for us to do it and we actually perform better. It’s also easier to speak up with fewer eyes watching you. We also like to get to know each individual in these small groups, because it’s less overwhelming when we don’t feel as if we have to know everyone in a large group.

15.  They notice things other people might miss

Introverts are valued assets in the workplace because they often notice details that others might miss. Because they are deeply introspective, introverts might be able to come up with a potential solution to a problem that may have been overlooked. They may not speak up about it but doesn’t mean that they aren’t thinking about it. In fact, studies confirm that introverts can be great leaders, too.

16.  They easily see other people’s point of view

They are typically empathetic to other people and what they have to say  Even if they don’t agree with the other person, they make a good effort to see things from their perspective. They strive to get to know other people in all situations before judging or making the other person feel inadequate.

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17.  They aren’t necessarily shy

Shyness and introversion get lumped together because many of the traits between the two overlap. Sometimes an introvert isn’t afraid to meet other people, but they just prefer to do it in their own way. In fact, extroverts can be shy! A well-known Stanford researcher points out that many public figures are both extroverted and shy.

18.  They are drained by high energy people

High energy people can be exhausting for introverts. They often feel like they have to match that level of intensity and may feel uncomfortable when they don’t. Introverts may need breaks from these high energy situations because unlike extroverts, they don’t become energized by these people. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

19.  They like to take things slow

Sometimes it just takes us introverts a little longer to move forward. We like to weigh all of our options and look at all possible outcomes before making a final decision. This can also be detrimental to us because we tend to analyze things too much. So, don’t take it personally if we just aren’t quite ready to take that next step.

20.  They are not just introverts

Being labeled as an introvert can immediately put someone in a category. Although it is a useful term that people can relate to, it doesn’t define who they are. There are many types of introverts and many variations within those types. More than anything, introverts are people first. Being an introvert is just one aspect of who a person is. Many people fall into a continuum of traits and exhibit extroverted traits AND introverted traits.

One definition certainly doesn’t define who I am, yet it’s helpful to understand that I am not the only one who experiences these personality traits. We aren’t crazy, we aren’t boring, and we aren’t anti-social. We may be some of these at times, but who isn’t?!

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In general, introverts are just people who prefer to slow it down a little and re-energize themselves from a quiet place of peace and tranquility.

Featured photo credit: Marco Bond 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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