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Public Speeching Advice for Introverts

Posted by Kali Fencil on

Comedian Kali Fencl quietly shares speech advice for introverts everywhere:

Usually, when the weekend rolls around, I begin thinking about all the plans I have, the fact that I worked a 40-hour week at my day job, and then probably did 3 or 4 nights of comedy. Then I remember how much I love falling asleep in front of the couch. It’s kind of the best.

But for some reason, introverted people still have this interest in getting on stage and performing in front of people. We even do a pretty decent job of shutting hecklers down. However, we realize there are introverted people out there who never, ever want to get on stage and perform in front of people to say anything – even a toast.

Which is where Laugh Staff comes in – a team of people who can help outline, write, edit, and coach introverts through the speech process. I can’t say for sure, but I feel like I am the most introverted member of the group (Josh has invited me to several parties, all of which I declined, probably in favor of staying home and watching reruns of Gilmore Girls). I still manage to put together an act and perform it in front of crowds ranging from raging drunk to indifferent hipster.

Here is my advice to all my introverts out there:

1. Practice your speech out loud

I can’t speak for all introverts (mostly because if I did, I wouldn’t be one), but I kinda like talking to myself. I don’t always want to practice my set because that seems like work, but I know when I do, I feel much better about myself when I get off stage. Even if it didn’t all go as hoped, I know I put the effort in and I’m did my best, which is really all anyone can ask for.

2. Remember who you’re talking about

It’s a wedding toast, so while you’re the one talking, the attention is not on you, it’s still on the bride and groom, because you are (ideally) talking about THEM, which if you think about it, is a really comforting thought. The attention is probably 40% on you and 60% on the bride and groom (that is a statistic I just pulled out of the air. It could be 33.3% you, 33.3% them, and 33.3% open bar. We’ll never know for sure). The point is, this isn’t one of those BS things at work where you have to go around a circle talking about yourself, like “my name is Kali and I’m from Kalamazoo and I like kangaroos.” Yeah. The focus isn’t entirely on you. So calm down.

3. Don’t get drunk

We say that a lot, I realize. I don’t really drink a lot and if you’re also a non-drinker, a wedding is a terrible place to start. Especially when I think about some clients who have let me know they need help with a speech because they don’t have nice things to say about the bride or groom. Think of the word vomit that would come out of your mouth with a few drinks in you. I don’t even drink before I do a set. I used to, at this one open mic where the bartender would give me free drinks and then I would think I was HILARIOUS. Looking back, I was anything but hilarious. I was annoying and probably gross. Plus, every audience deserves better. No, you’re not being paid to give this speech, but you were selected because you’re probably really good friends or family of the couple and they deserve a solid attempt at a good speech.

And here’s the good news! You don’t have to talk for long and, EXTRA BONUS: no one wants you to!!!

Stick to your time – which is probably five minutes. It may seem like a long time, but it’s pretty quick. Audiences (even at a wedding) get really antsy when people keep going and going (especially when there’s cake to be had). You can do five minutes. In five minutes, people will be clinking their glasses, trying to make the bride and groom kiss, someone will make a fool of themselves on the dance floor, and you’re five minutes closer from getting home and falling asleep in front of Netflix.

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