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At Public Speaking Training by Broadway Actors we are often asked, "Aren't most actors extroverts?" The answer, hard as it may be to believe, is, "No." People assume their favorite actors perform brilliantly because they are extroverts, uninhibited, have no stage fright or reluctance to exhibit their deepest feelings in public, and conclude that if only they too were fearless extroverts they would excel at public speaking. These are misconceptions: The actors whom audiences particularly admire for their depth or originality are frequently introverts. They are sensitive people who are shy, insecure, find it hard to express themselves in life and for that reason turn to acting as a profession. They explain it is only onstage, in front of a camera, or hidden in the guise of a character not themselves that they are able to be expressive. And some reticence about public speaking shows intelligence and awareness since making a presentation is not a casual matter but an important and heightened occasion at which people have gathered to hear what the speaker has to say. Marilyn Monroe was a striking introvert/extrovert. Several of the actor-trainers in our company knew her. One likened her to a gardenia she was so easily bruised. Introverted and shy, she had difficulty looking people in the eye when in conversation and usually voiced feelings of inadequacy when discussing her work as an actress. Yet hours later, she would be seen in her public "persona" at a premiere, wearing a fur coat off her shoulders and grazing the floor, exuding charm, sex appeal and humor, the epitome of an extrovert. And the Italian actress, Eleonora Duse, who lived from 1858 to 1924 and is considered by many to have been the greatest actress who has ever lived, while on an American tour in Pittsburgh, at the height of her dizzying international fame, was caught in the rain outside a locked stage door and too shy to insist that someone be found to let her in became soaked to the bone and soon after died of pneumonia. There are many such examples. Introversion and extroversion are opposite sides of the same coin. And those who are introverted in daily life, can, under the controlled circumstances of a rehearsed performance uninhibitedly express themselves. This includes you. You may be convinced that you are an introvert and still become an extroverted public speaker through exploring the "opposite side of the coin" within yourself.


"But," you may ask, "aren't actors trained to accomplish this? Haven't they been taught various techniques to use in rehearsal and performance?" Yes, but many of these techniques are not difficult to learn and are available to you. Our actortrainers employ them when working with clients. All forms of performance have much in common, whether they take place on a stage, in a classroom, boardroom or at a lectern and certain acting techniques have to do with things that concern public speakers most: the overcoming of tensions, fears, inhibitions; the powerful use of language and gesture; and how best to rehearse and prepare for a speech. So if you feel stopped from expressing yourself freely at the podium consider working on some of these with a coach. These methods can be helpful even if you have no trepidation about public speaking. It has been our experience at Public Speaking Training by Broadway Actors that public speaking introverts, like their shy actor counterparts, can, with some application, become mesmerizing presenters, so take heart, persevere and enjoy the rewards that await you.

Copyright 2009 Broadway Actors Amanda Blue is a founding member of PS4e1, a New York City based company of Broadway actors who give online training in confident public speaking. To visit PS4e1 (Public Speaking Training for Everyone) go to: PS4e1 http://publicspeakinggold.com/ar/public-speaking-training.php

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Public Speaking Introvert, Extrovert, Can You Be Both - Public Speaking Training.txt  

People assume their favorite actors perform brilliantly because they are extroverts, uninhibited, have no stage fright or reluctance to exhi...

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