You might think that most of my acting students are extroverts, comfortable on stage and eager to garner the attention of the masses. Truth is, most of the kids I work with are shy, extremely self-conscious, and would rather clean their room than risk vulnerability … and I can spot the terrified the minute I open my studio door.
How? From their body language.
They give me a quick smile then drop their eyes. Their shoulders slump and their arms criss-cross in front of their torso. When I extend my hand in greeting, the color drains from their face.
If you’re not naturally comfortable on stage and your publisher is asking you to build a public speaking platform, don’t despair. Not only can you can learn to communicate confidence, I believe you might even learn to enjoy it. How? With practice and a few stage tricks.
My son was a shy child. Whenever an adult spoke to him, he’d duck his head and hide behind my legs. Where we lived my son’s unwillingness to respond was considered disrespectful behavior. I remember gently lifting his chin, encouraging him to make brief eye contact. With an abundance of praise and practice, he managed a few seconds more each time and sometimes even a smile. Today he preaches for a crowd of about a 1,000. He sent me this video and I thought … this is one confident guy.
I hope seeing this introvert’s comfort on stage encourages you.
Invest in some acting lessons. Sign up and follow SIX MINUTES. Regularly make eye contact with someone you trust. As your comfort level increases, try your new skill out on the grocery checker or the waiter at your table.