Public speaking tips for introverts
Attention all introverts: you don’t need to fear public speaking.
Yes, you might be feeling anxious and tired just thinking about it, but that’s normal. Introverts often feel tired and anxious when they have to socialize. This, more than how shy or outgoing you are, is the major difference with extroverts, who are often energized by being around people.
Introversion, however, isn’t something you need to overcome to be a great public speaker. Leaning on your introverted traits can actually help you deliver a great speech or presentation. Here’s why (and how).
Take a cue from TED
Introverts are more likely to prepare for a speech, meeting, or even an important phone call. And when it comes to speaking in front of a crowd, you can’t prepare too early or too much.
Take TED Talks for example. What you don’t see before a TED Talk is the team of people and hours of preparation that go into making the presentation seem effortlessly delivered.
“Who cares if you’re not a natural storyteller? You can craft your stories beforehand, practice them, and share them—for the brief moment that the spotlight is on you,” says Susan Cain on her website Quiet Revolution. Cain’s TEDTalk, “The power of introverts,” has been view more then 14,000,000 times.
TED speakers prepare a script, memorize that script, and then rehearse it so many times that they could recite it while washing the dishes. There’s absolutely no winging it involved.
Know your audience
Good speakers aren’t always outgoing, funny, or energetic, but they are always interesting. They communicate valuable information to their audience in a straightforward way.
Since introverts are more likely to be empathetic, analytical, good at listening, and in tune with what’s going on around them, introverts are at an advantage when it comes to a big part of public speaking success: knowing your audience.
Although an extroverted person might enjoy being the centre of attention, making a good presentation or speech isn’t about you, it’s about your message. Taking the time to think about who you are speaking to and what’s valuable to them goes a long way towards preparing a good speech or presentation.
Find an introverted role model
If you’ve noticed an introverted colleague who is a great speaker, ask yourself what makes them compelling to watch.
They’re probably good at staying on message, catering their speech to the audience and, most importantly, staying true to who they are even if they don’t love public speaking.
Reach out to them to ask for advice. They’ve likely honed their public speaking skills through trial and error and may be happy to help another introvert find their public speaking personality.
Embrace your anxiety
Even the best public speakers often feel nervous or anxious before delivering a presentation. Identifying that source of anxiety can help you take steps towards feeling more confident about public speaking.
Plenty of preparation and practice is one way to overcome nerves. Another way is to put your hand up for public speaking opportunities: join a Toastmasters club, host a lunch and learn for your colleagues, or tell your manager you’re interested in public speaking.
Introvert or extrovert, becoming a good public speaker takes practice and persistence. Since introverts are more likely to prepare well and keep their audience in mind, introverts can be just as good if not better public speakers than their extroverted peers.
Just be sure to schedule a post-presentation nap.