Do you consider yourself an introverted person?
While you know that speaking in front of others is an essential part of your job or aspirations to move forward in your career, you can’t ignore the fact that delivering a presentation leaves you panicked and quaking in your boots.
I get it, I do. I would consider myself an introvert. Although I make my living performing in front of other people and coaching others to do it, I am much more comfortable hiding behind a character on stage than speaking as myself.
So be not afraid. In my opinion as a coach of 20 years, your being an introvert is actually your superpower! I’ve got 5 valuable public speaking tips designed especially for introverts who struggle to muster the energy to speak confidently in public. Here we go…
#1 Practice Makes Present… Not Perfect
You hear it all the time: Practice makes perfect when it comes to public speaking. However, for introverts, this mantra puts a lot of unnecessary pressure on you to be perfect and that is not the object of the game. It’s about being most present with your audience and most grounded within yourself.
The more you practice, the more familiar you become with your content. This familiarity diminishes the likelihood of freezing in front of an audience or forgetting your talking points. Practice also familiarizes your body with your words and allows you to be more present in the moment when you speak.
In your early days on stage, the experience might have felt like a blur, making it difficult to recall the details of your presentation. Your focus on delivering the message overshadowed your ability to observe the audience’s reactions and interactions.
But as time passes and your content becomes second nature, you’ll feel more comfortable and capable of recognizing what’s happening in the room while speaking and you can then be more present in the moment.
In short, practice helps you to physically own your story, words, and content, reducing anxiety around public speaking.
2. Intentional Energy Elevation
High-energy presentations often come naturally to extroverts, but for introverts, it’s essential to consciously elevate your energy. If you’re soft-spoken, you need to dial up the volume. If your default expression is serious, find that smile that lights up your face.
For those who habitually keep their hands in their pockets, it’s time to pull them out and use them to incorporate expressive body language into your speech.
In an era of short attention spans, capturing your audience’s focus is crucial. The most effective way to achieve this is by elevating your energy and using your energy to fuel your words and stories.
3. Ditch the Script
Introverted individuals often find comfort in staying behind a lectern with their entire speech scripted word-for-word on a piece of paper. However, this approach limits your ability to employ body language effectively and deliver vocal variety.
Reading notes verbatim makes your presentation less dynamic and engaging. In short: If you read off a script, it will sound like you’re reading off a script. It also means that if you lose your place or get one word wrong, you increase the chance that you’ll throw yourself off completely.
A common fear is forgetting key points when ditching notes. But remember, your audience never knew what you were planning to say in the first place. You can deliver your presentation, occasionally forgetting something, and your audience won’t be upset because they had no specific expectations about your speech.
4. Don’t Let Labels Define You
Being an introvert doesn’t disqualify you from being a great public speaker. In fact, I think it’s the opposite. I think it’s your superpower.
Some of the world’s most renowned presenters consider themselves introverts. While certain aspects of public speaking, such as body language and vocal delivery, might pose more of a challenge for introverts, these obstacles can be surmounted with practice, repetition, and expert feedback.
The key is to stay authentic to your personality while enhancing your public speaking skills. Embrace your introverted nature and realize that it doesn’t limit your ability to deliver powerful and attention-grabbing presentations.
5. Recharge and Recenter After the Spotlight
It’s entirely normal for introverts to feel drained or high as a kite after delivering a presentation. If you find yourself in this situation, consider planning a strategically-scheduled post-speech nap or downtime to recharge your batteries and recenter your energy.
Acknowledge and accommodate your need for post-presentation recovery to maintain your energy and enthusiasm for future speaking engagements.
Introverts can absolutely excel in public speaking by practicing, intentionally elevating their energy, ditching the notes, refusing to let labels define them, and caring for themselves after the spotlight.
Remember, introversion is not a limitation; it’s a unique quality that can set you apart as a remarkable, memorable, inspiring public speaker. Embrace it, refine your skills, and confidently share your message with the world.
You’ve got this. See you on the inside!