In Los Angeles, people are constantly more outgoing and expressive than you—or so you think. Especially the actors and thespians, who haven’t quite made it yet. Life is the stage. This can either be intimidating, annoying, or entertaining. I prefer to be entertained. Either way you can end up feeling like your life is dull in comparison. Whether you live in LA or not—you know the type—the life of the party, the uncle whose stories and adventures are so grand, they almost seem unreal. Often the truth is not that their life is more interesting, but they simply just tell a better story.
I went through an extremely shy phase when I was younger. Over the years it improved, but it wasn’t until my post college experience when I became a tour guide (true story), that I really learned the power of public speaking and self-expression. Every day for two years I would give tours through the vineyards and caves of Domain Chandon. The champagne life. Some groups were foreign. Some groups were drunk. Some groups just wanted to get drunk, and were bored by my spiel. Other groups were gracious and enjoyed learning with me. This experience for me was incredibly powerful. Like any day, sometimes you want to be at work, and sometimes you don’t. It’s a different story when your work requires you to be enthusiastic about the particular space, and to talk a lot. Especially for someone who sits happily in the ( I ) category of Meyers Briggs. Through this experience, I learned the power of confident social interaction. I could alter each day drastically by doing the slightest things—forcing myself to make eye contact with each visitor, addressing someone in the audience, standing up straighter, speaking a bit louder and acting (yes, acting) more confident.
One of my greatest devices has been gaining the skill of public speaking. I’m definitely not an actor, or a politician, but I do know that I am infinitely better at expressing myself than I would have been if I’d given in to my introverted side. I can hang in there, and I’m really glad.
Getting your story out is not only beneficial as a social skill, but it’s important to your sanity and career. Who wants to feel bottled up inside like you can’t make your point? As the world gets smaller, we need to tell our own stories to stand apart, to maximize our creativity, to inspire, to educate…or to at the very least…GET THAT SHIT OUT!
Here are some amazing organizations to help you feel liberated on the next level, and gain a public speaking skill or two…
The Moth is an acclaimed not-for-profit organization dedicated to the art and craft of storytelling. It is one of the most diverse and popular organizations of its kind. Since its launch in 1997, The Moth has presented thousands of stories, told live and without notes, to standing-room-only crowds worldwide.The Moth’s directors work with each storyteller to find, shape, and present it. Witnessing a Moth event is like being part of an open book full of diverse stories and experiences. Tears, laughter, fear, joy – all emotions are on the table. Founder, George Dawes explains it best – he wanted to recreate the feeling of sultry summer evenings in his native Georgia, where he and his friends would gather on his friend Wanda’s porch to share spellbinding tales. As our connections become more virtual, the opportunity to gather around and experience storytelling is vital.
The more we all talk about how fucked up we are, the more normal we feel.
Taboo Tales focuses on the more irreverent and taboo side of story telling. The Taboo Tales are the stories that we aren’t suppose to tell- and funny as hell. The shows are refreshingly candid. Amateur comedy hour at its finest. Many of their videos are online. If you’re in the mood to lighten things up – check them out!
Toastmasters International focuses on the more serious side of public speaking. Their mission is to empower individuals through effective communication and leadership development. With more than 332,000 members, Toastmasters is the largest of its type with the broadest geographical reach- and are one of the greatest resources for public speaking education. Their video library of Toastmaster Tips is an excellent source of simple reminders on how to improve your speaking skills.
Good luck, and have fun!!!