Public Speaking for Introverts
If you’re an introvert, standing up in front of a crowd of people (or even a couple colleagues) can be especially challenging.
That’s why Ellevate Network’s Girl Boss Bootcamp: The Introvert’s Guide to Public Speaking drew such a big crow.
As an introvert myself, this is a topic I am hugely passionate about. I wanted to share tips and strategies for all the introverts out there who are trying to balance their quiet nature with their desire to express themselves.
Use these strategies to build your confidence and grow your professional presence.
#1 Planning is your friend.
Introverts generally do better when they’re prepared. Spending a few minutes upfront preparing will make a huge difference when you’re speaking in front of other people.
Start by getting really clear on what you want your audience to walk away with.
It’s important to think about your topic from the audience’s perspective. I like to use this template to set objectives with my clients:
At the end of my presentation, I want the audience to remember______________ and/or take action step ___________________.
#2 Map Out Your Speaking Points
Take a moment to jot down your 2 or 3 most important points. If you have more than 3, narrow them down. Sharing too much information will overwhelm your audience. You need to stay focused or you risk them not remembering anything.
Even if you prefer to improvise, a few minutes of planning can go a long way. It will help you stay on message and play in the moment.
#3 Use Your Strengths
If you’re quiet by nature, don’t feel like you need to be a big, charismatic performer. Instead, lean into your strengths.
If listening is your biggest strength, know that it’s a really powerful skill to tap into your audience. If you’re not sure what your strengths are, start here.
#4 Tell Stories
You may not like talking about yourself or bragging about your accomplishments, but I bet you can tell a story.
Stories are relatable and give you a way to connect with your audience, even if you’re shy.
#5 Focus on Mindset
If you’re worried about worst-case scenarios, you’re going to look and feel more nervous.
Instead, focus on your objective and what you want to accomplish. It’s much easier to connect with the people in front of you when you get out of your own head and think about the gift you can give by sharing your ideas.
If you’ve been asked to lead the presentation or give a talk, you’ve earned the right to be there, even if you don’t feel ready.
And while you may not relish the spotlight, remember that people are looking at you because they want to hear from you, not because they’re waiting for you to fail.
Practice out loud. More than once.
Don’t read your notes to yourself. Read them out loud, do a run-through in front of other people, for your dog, in front of your kids, or on the subway.
And if you’re looking for the magic formula to create a presentation that engages your audience and establishes you as the expert, grab the guide Create a Presentation that Stands Out. It walks you through how to put together a compelling presentation, in 1 week or less, even if you only have 20 minutes a day.