I kissed the Blarney Stone, but…

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Many years ago I had the chance to visit Blarney Castle in beautiful Ireland. Blarney Castle is the home of the legendary Blarney Stone. According to legend, whoever kisses the Blarney Stone is gifted with eloquence and persuasiveness – also referred to as the “gift of gab.” The gift of gab was something I did not have. So I made my way up the dark, winding staircase to the top of the castle. When you get to the top, you have to lay on your back and hang upside down to kiss the Blarney Stone. You are 37 feet in the air. The castle guide is holding on to you and there is a protective grate to keep people from falling, but it’s still a pretty scary experience. Years later, it’s still hard to believe that I did it as I am scared of heights and a bit of a germaphobe. But I had to do it, right? Plus, what introvert wouldn’t want to be blessed with the gift of gab?

Well, it didn’t work. I was not blessed with the gift of gab even though I kissed that ancient stone.

What is the “Gift of Gab”?

Often, people with the gift of the gab are described as being charismatic and outgoing. Someone with the gift of the gab may find it easy to make friends quickly. A person with the gift of gab is said to speak easily, eloquently, and with confidence, and never run out of things to say. They often even have the ability to persuade others to their will.

I definitely would not describe myself as having the gift of gab. This experience happened long before I understood introversion, what it means, and what gifts I have as an introvert. But now, I have a much better understanding of the many gifts I have, and I am much more aware of the various talents others possess as well. For example, as an introvert, I have many ideas. I see the big picture, as well as the connections between ideas, people, and things. I am very analytical and am a good problem solver. And, because I have taken the time to understand my gifts and talents, I’ve found a few other ways to increase my ability to “gab” without kissing the Blarney Stone.

More ways to get the Gift of Gab

So how can I speak easily, eloquently, and confidently? I have learned a few things that I have found helpful.

A big difference between introverts and extroverts is that introverts think and then speak and extroverts speak to think. Understanding this difference has changed the way I feel about my conversations. I know that when someone says something to me I may respond instantly, or in a few seconds, or a minute, or maybe I need to let them know I will get back to them later. All of these reactions are completely normal responses. Knowing that I often do best when I am able to think about a subject beforehand, I find it helpful to prepare for conversations, meetings, presentations in advance. I think about what I need to discuss and how I can best prepare. For a meeting, I may write down points I want to make or questions I want to pose.

Of, course you can’t prepare for everything, so relax and let your awesome introverted brain do its work. If you are thinking before responding, it can be helpful to let the other person know that you are thinking, and telling them this can make the silence less awkward. And don’t be afraid to ask for time to think, especially if you need to weigh options and make a decision. If there is silence in conversation, don’t worry.  You are not the only one being silent. It is normal.

I also find that I may have the gift of gab when I am passionate about something and I have given a lot of thought about it already. When in these conversations, you might not be able to shut me up.

I have found that even without the gift of gab, I can speak eloquently with a little preparation and passion. I have gained confidence by understanding that I have great gifts and also understanding that I need to think before I speak. I may not always have words coming to me easily, but this doesn’t bother me as I have learned how I best operate.

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Here’s a fun video of someone else kissing the Blarney stone if you want to see it up close and personal.  I loved my time at Blarney Castle and would highly recommend the trip to beautiful Ireland. You may not come away with the gift of gab, but by understanding your unique gifts and personality you can act with strength and confidence and accomplish what you set out to do.