This video is perfect for you if you sometimes feel shy about speaking up or expressing yourself in public.
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How I Ended Up Crying in Front of a Live Audience
So the way everything happened started really innocently.
I was invited to speak somewhere. I was supposed to go there and talk about my work with orphans.
I accepted, I was excited, what could possibly go wrong?
When I arrived at the event, everything was going well until I started talking.
I’m not really sure how this happened but when I got to the part where I was supposed to share about about orphans I just got really emotional about it and proper burst into tears.
It wasn’t that subtle, “pretty tear in the corner of the eye” crying either- No!
It was woa-hu-hu-hu! It was horrible!
And I don’t wear waterproof mascara so it was like, raccoon eyes – Oh God! It was horrible! That was not even the worst part. The worst part of everything was that after I finished crying, I had to do Q&A. So it wasn’t like I could just leave.
I had to sit there and talk with these people that just saw me crying.
But Time Heals Wounds Right? Nah…
This happened about 2 years ago and I have since moved past it.
However, 2 weeks ago, a friend of mine, Mo put on an event.
Hey Mo! A shout out to you :)
I was there and having a great time until I met this girl that was like, “Weren’t you that one speaker from blah, blah, blah?”
I was like, “Oh God.” No, this cannot, cannot be happening. How? It’s been 2 years!
The truth is that public embarrassments of this nature never really leave you, so I thought I’d make this post.
Hence the Following 5 Tips for Avoiding Embarrassment, Overcoming Shyness & Speaking Passionately in Public
The rest of this post will help you to see how you can overcome shyness and enjoy speaking in front of people without feeling overwhelmed or embarrassed.
#1. Accept the Way You Are
You guys might not know this but while I was growing up, I was that kid that was always told to shut up.
It wasn’t because I talked a lot.
It was because I wouldn’t say very much, but when I would say something, it would be exactly what’s on my mind.
There was no editing. NONE.
If you have African parents, you know that that’s the fastest way to die and go to hell because they will kill you.
However, even though I got a lot of people pissed as a kid, I always felt that expressing myself was something important.
Because of this belief, I’ve learned to embrace that aspect of my personality and it has worked really well for me.
I would ask you to not think about your shyness as a disability or a weakness to be overcome. Just think about it as part of your personality and try to work that into your presentations.
Not everybody needs to be loud, boisterous and running around on stage.
There is a place for a calm, steady spirit.
As long as you are authentic, you will connect with the right people and that’s what you want. You don’t want to connect with everybody.
That’s what Michael Jackson did. Look where he is now. Eh?
You want to connect with the right people, people that actually resonate with you. You, as a person.
#2. Prepare to Avoid Crying in Front of an Audience
Tip Number 2. Don’t cry! Don’t cry in front of your audience. Lol
The best way to make sure that you don’t cry is to prepare. Ever since that experience, I have come to realize that it’s very difficult for me to talk about orphans, without getting emotional.
Even when I did the video when I got back from India, I cried in the middle of that video but I edited it out so nobody could see it.
A really cool tip for how I practice is that I draw faces on paper and pin them on the back of my couch.
Then I talk to the faces as I practice.
This is really a great way to have somewhat of a realistic experience before you are in front of the people you are talking to.
Practice so you don’t cry. Practice so you know what parts make you feel embarrassed. Practice so you build your confidence.
#3. Avoid Getting Stereotyped
Number 3 is something that I think is super important and it is something that I learned when I spoke at the commencement ceremony at Ivy Tech not very long ago.
I am Nigerian and I was born and raised in Nigeria.
What I have found from living in the US is that a lot of people expect me to have a rags-to-riches story. A lot of people expect me to come and tell them about how I was poor and suffering in Africa.
To be fair, life was difficult in Nigeria but I refuse to fall into this ridiculous stereotype that every African out there is in the jungle and it’s only upon arrival in the US that we taste clean water for the first time.
This is simply not the case for a lot of us.
What I didn’t realize was that when I came to the US and started doing speaking engagements, I was allowing myself to fall into the stereotype.
When I was invited to speak at Ivy Tech, I knew that there would be about 3,000 people in the audience and it just dawned on me that I had to be authentic.
My point here is that it is SO important to be authentic because if you are authentic, that’s one less thing to worry about.
If you’re not authentic, what you’re probably doing is you’re trying to impress your audience, you’re trying to impress somebody, you’re trying to say the “right things”. You’re trying to “tailor” your message to the audience.
But what ends up happening is that this gives you one more thing to worry about.
You’ll be worrying about your hand gestures and this and that.
But if you’re just honest, and say things just as they are, trust me, it’s a lot easier.
Be authentic and it will make you feel better about speaking in public regardless of how shy you are (or how badly things go).
#4. Ignore Your Shy Feelings and Look for Opportunities to Speak in Public
Number 4 is a no-brainer. Find opportunities to speak.
It might be nerve racking.
It might be difficult.
I hear you.
Just find opportunities to speak.
Look for your local rotary club or your local Kiwanis club or a school in your area and tell them, “Hey! I’ll speak for free!” They’ll book you.
Doing this will give you lots of experience and you’ll start to develop the muscle that you need to overcome shyness and speak boldly about the things you’re passionate about.
A lot of people look up to Beyonce and they’re like, Oh Beyonce is this and that but think about it. Beyonce didn’t become Beyonce overnight. Beyonce has been doing her thing since she was 3 years old.
Her career has been 20 something years in the making.
So if you’re nervous at first, or you’re shy and you’re not very good at speaking passionately in public, it’s not the end of the world.
Just look at how long it’s taken other people to become really good in their careers.
If it took Beyonce 20 years, you can’t be mad if it takes you 20 years too.
Find opportunities to speak on a regular basis.
#5. Have Fun
Chill out, relax! Whatever you’re going to say is probably important but it’s not the end of the world. So relax, just have fun with it.
Flex your shoulder muscles and just relax!
Life is really not that serious.
You might find it helpful to watch other Speakers or people you admire who are not shy about Speaking in public.
Observe how effortlessly they communicate and let it inspire you to loosen up as well.
So Go Forth and Prosper!
So those are my tips for overcoming shyness, avoiding awkward embarrassments on stage and speaking boldly about things you’re passionate about.
I hope you found them to be helpful.
I did this post because many of you have asked about shyness and expressing yourselves.
What other questions do you have for me? Email me and I’d be more than happy to make a post just for you :)