Don’t ever pull me up on stage.
I’m guessing that it’s not really a “confession” that I don’t like public speaking. That’s pretty common. I’m pretty extreme in those regards…I even get nervous before walking in front of the congregation at church to receive Communion (a time when literally no one is paying attention to me).
But pulling me up on stage is different. It puts me on the spot. I don’t know how to work a crowd, and even if I did, I’d be too nervous to work it.
The thing is, the worst part about public speaking to me is the build-up. I don’t sleep the night before. But it’s even worse with any situation where I might be pulled up on stage, because there’s nothing to prepare, just the random chance that I’ll be picked to “perform” on a moment’s cue. So I dread–even avoid–situations where I might be pulled up on stage.
You’re probably asking yourself, “How often is this guy in situations when he might be pulled up on stage?” Not very often. It’s the type of thing that happens at stand-up comedy shows (which I rarely attend) and charity events (which I also rarely attend, but I run one big one). I like to stay behind the scenes. I like to think about what I would have said if I had been called on–well after the event.
I think I wanted to write about this because I’m of the opinion that those of you that like to be on stage think it’s fun to pull those of us who don’t like to be on stage up there with you. “Come on, it’ll be fun!” No. If that’s what you think, you have a LOT to learn about introverts. It’s not fun, not in the moments before, not during, not even after when we didn’t make a complete fool of ourselves.
How does one get over this irrational fear? I don’t know. I’m told that you just have to do it a lot, and you’ll get used to it and come to like it. It’s something I’d like to get better at if I’m ever going to get published and do the book tour/reading thing.
Read my previous confession about atomic wedgies and hazing here.