“How could I ever be good at public speaking, I am an introvert!”
I hear this a lot and don’t agree.
Introverts typically think their message and arguments well through. They think before they speak and that makes them well prepared speakers.
With a bit of help for a more dynamic and engaging presence on stage they can really rock it.
The introvert’s challenge
When speaking to other introverts or one-to-one, an introvert can be entirely him/herself. That is comfortable. But, the thought of having to speak to extraverts can be daunting.
Because we have the most difficulty understanding and interacting with audiences whose preferences are different to our own. Recognizing these preferences can help improve our presentation style.
Typically our audience will be made up of both introverts and extraverts.
My advice: strike a balance between your own personal style and speaking the language of your audience.
How it looks like when an introvert speaks ‘introvert’:
- Voice: Often a calm voice with little variation in tone, speed and pitch. (tendency to speak too low and quiet)
- Focus: More on the messages as on the audience OR the opposite of being too accommodating towards the audience
- Body Language: unassuming presence, small gestures, cautious smiles and eye contact, possibly fidgety and nervous (risk of lack of presence)
- Style: Cautious, precise and formal OR caring, encouraging, patient and well meaning
- Presentation tools: Carefully written, detailed and personalized
What an introvert can do to involve and engage extraverts:
- Voice: Friendly and optimistic. Expressing humor, charm and infectious enthusiasm. Towards clear and determined.
- Focus: Connecting/Interacting with the audience, future oriented, use of stories. Clear goals to convince the audience.
- Body Language: Dynamic, high levels of eye contact, proximity to audience, confident movements and vivid facial expressions
- Style: High energy, engaging, visual and inspiring
- Presentation tools: Visually attractive, functional, use of pictures, graphs, and tables
An introvert does not risk to do what an extravert risks to do, which is:
- Speak too fast
- Lose train of thoughts
- Getting carried away on a tangent
- Trying to wing it
- Lack structure
- Not have important supporting data
So from now on “How could I ever be good at public speaking, I am an introvert!” will be “Introverts can be good public speakers too!”
I wish for you this article brings you closer to your own best personal speaking style.
Elizabeth Van Den Bergh
Speaker Coach – Powerful Public Speaking
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