Public Speaking Tips for Introverts
Some of my favorite, most successful speakers, are self-proclaimed introverts. In fact, you know many famous introverts who pushed passed their fear to inspire and/or entertain others – to name a few:
Emma Watson (if you’ve ever followed her philanthropic pursuits she has some highly impactful speeches)
If you are shy and introverted, public speaking may seem close to impossible. Whether you are in a classroom, on a stage, in a business meeting, or making a toast at a celebration, it may give you anxiety to speak at all, let alone with confidence.
Perhaps, you think great public speakers are able to think on their feet because they are naturally charismatic and outgoing.
Let me let you in on a little secret… extroverts get public speaking anxiety too, including me.
While there are a few speakers out there who appear to have that natural born fearless charisma, many of them have had practice, practice, practice and training to do so. I am sure you may recall your high school or college debate teams. Also, it is part of the training and preparation for those seeking government, presidential roles. While most of us don’t plan to run for office, the gift of communication can move us forward. The good news is you can become a good public speaker even if you are an introvert.
Following are some public speaking tips for introverts:
Talk about something you know
If you are in luck and have a choice to pick your topic for public speaking, then pick the one that interests you and you have some knowledge on. Don’t ever talk about subjects you don’t know. When you find the topic interesting, it automatically makes the preparation of your speech enjoyable because you have a genuine enthusiasm about it. And during your public speech, this enthusiasm is evident when you actually talk about it.
Prepare your material
Know your subject well. Carefully source the facts and don’t make statements you can’t verify. Try to present your audience a well-researched and well thought talk. Preparation will also help with your nerves. The more you learn about your topic, the more confident you will feel when talking about it in front of your audience.
Most of the times when you see speakers looking like they are ‘winging it’ are actually not. That causal air of witty material and self-confidence is coming from hours of practice and preparation. As an introvert, public speaking may not be natural to you, therefore you must practice in order to make it feel a little less alien. They best way to do that is to write down the speech and practice in front of a mirror. Try to sound natural when practicing your speech. When writing, make certain that you are writing for your voice and be confident with what you are saying, don’t use words you are unfamiliar with.
Avoid asking yourself negative questions about what could go wrong and how will you perform in front of the audience. Instead, focus on positive things such as your knowledge about the subject and your speaking skills. In your preparation days, visualize yourself giving an interesting and confident talk that ends with a great ovation. Sense the feeling you get and then use that positive energy to ensure that you have the right approach when the time of your public speech arrives.
Speaking confidently in public is a skill you can learn with practice. Follow the above mentioned tips and take any opportunity you get to improve your expertise in this matter. Develop the right attitude, take the right steps, and soon public speaking will hold no fears for you.
For the last three years I have worked with teaching public speaking skills at the university to those in the IT/technological degree programs.
Most of them don’t want to take the course, but it is required. Why? Because these days most people, no matter what their role in the company, need to know how to speak or present for their job.
Public speaking is not about being perfect, it’s about being you and letting that shine through!
If you need a private coach or someone to work with you, your staff or team, contact me!
I want YOU and your message shine through and help you learn how to move past your anxiety and improve your public speaking skills in front of others or with a virtual audience.