Introvert Tip – Top 3 Innate Strengths for Public Speaking

'CBR001174' photo (c) 2012, www.audio-luci-store.it - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/The recent post, How to overcome the fear of public speaking, had me thinking about how introverts could take advantage of who we are naturally and begin to see themselves in another light.

Public speaking for anyone in business is one of the best ways to attract clients in your community. Workshops and presentations are ways to deliver your message that reaches many people at one time. When you hone your message what you will find for example is, if you get into one Rotary, other Rotary groups will add you to their speaker of the week agenda. When I left my company “job” in 1990 I didn’t realize introverts were hindered to use one of the best marketing tools available – public speaking. Hone your message to where it delivers valuable content, and then, people become interested in tracking you down to talk with them about what you really do. It’s client attraction at it’s best.

If you want to, you can eventually be a paid speaker. But let’s take public speaking for introverts and consider top three innate strengths we have for a solid foundation to make it work easily. Whether you are giving a company presentation,  or delivering a sales presentation or even found yourself in the enviable position of being asked to speak in front of a professional organization. Certainly we have more strengths but let’s start right here.

If you already believe introverts must be poor at public speaking because they lack the social skills, consider at least two things: first, as an introvert you already have many natural tendencies to be well-received on the platform and second, more demanding audiences today want to see evidence of this from the speakers they listen to.

 

#1 – Analytical tendencies are needed to prepare and present.

          Know your audience, know your topic, be creative. Research of the audience and topic is naturally satisfying to introverts. Just as planning uses the front of the brain, introverts will find up front preparation adds to the success of a well-received presentation. When you are researching your topic, you’ll also be kick starting your creativity. Relax and savor your planning tendency. Audiences love prepared speakers just as they love the people who can speak eloquently extemporaneously. You can do this!

 

#2 – Listeners want you to say something important.

          Audiences don’t want to hear small talk; they want to hear what is relevant for them. Yes; we might as introverts want to learn how to insert some humor, since it is something that bridges even the most serious, or dry topic, to where the listener wants to hear your message. Encourage participation to build the rapport between you and even just a few participants. And handling just those few potential difficult participants, well that is a must. But in the end, if you want a presentation score of 10 and a paycheck as a paid public speaker, our advantage of innately speaking only what is important, gets us 80% there.

 

#3 Be the observer, not the participant.

      Introverts observe and listen before commenting. Speaking in public allows you the chance to observe, listen and then make a conscious decision of how to continue or which direction to go with a well-planned presentation. Just what are you observing for? How engaged is your audience? Are they taking notes, nodding their heads, asking questions? These are behaviors easy enough to – dare I say – do at the same time as you are speaking! With your intuition highly tuned, give yourself permission to observe the reaction of the audience to know if and when to make a presentation adjustment.

These are just a few introvert natural strengths; many extroverts have to learn these very characteristics. This means we already have a solid foundation for public speaking. Do we have to learn some other pieces? Of course; but that’s no different than anyone else needing to learn what they don’t have.

What do you think about bringing your strengths to the party of speaking in public? Are you willing? Because you are ready.

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Comments

  1. Louise DiSclafani says:

    As a person with relatively high introvert behavior, I did a lot of public speaking and stand up training. It did surprise me when I started how it never bothered me. I quickly strong “product” knowledge – your #1 point. I always reinforce this is key. When you know your material, it is easier to “watch” your audience, get their participation and do all the other things that will win your audience.

  2. Louise that is so spot on. That’s one reason why introverts are more often than not delivering presentations that the audience WANTS to participate in.

  3. Pat this is spot on: “Public speaking for anyone in business is one of the best ways to attract clients in your community.”

    And Louise, I agree with you completely. Once you start it’s easy. As Pat knows that’s my experience too.
    Catarina recently posted…Communication – The key to Successful Leadership!My Profile

  4. Oh yeah Catarina! You KNOW how to leverage your public speaking for certain. Thanks for the comment!

  5. Martin Casper says:

    Preparation is always key to being in front of the public. I like your section about observance. I have done some public speaking and when I slow down with my message, it gives me time to observe the reactions of those in attendance…it can be an eye-opener.

  6. I am not comfortable with public speaking. That would come as a surprise to my many business associates from the past. All that you said is true. For me preparation was the key. I don’t mean just about my subject matter but all the nuances of the what where and how of when I would be speaking. When I had the time. I was able to deliver my message and be (somewhat) entertaining at the same time. :-)
    Susan Cooper recently posted…That Holiday Feeling: StoryMy Profile

  7. Well prepared means you CAN be entertaining at times for sure Susan. Nice!

  8. Martin, there you go with a first hand observation! Thanks for you comment. Always insightful.

  9. What an insightful addition to the post Cheryl. Preparedness = comfortableness. Thanks!

  10. I am a true introvert. For many years I was a software trainer and it required me to stand in front of rooms full of people and speak / train them. Preparation was key. I was comfortable because I was prepared and I knew I could answer any question that was asked. Observation was a key factor in my success as well. I needed to be able to look in to their eyes and determine whether or not they were taking onboard what I was trying to teach them. Coming up with fun ways to teach them took the tension out of the experience.
    Geek Girl recently posted…Motivational Monday – 12/17My Profile

  11. You got the gest of it AK – our introvert tendency is to want to research, plan, etc All good presenters have this foundation in the best of their presentation. Thanks!

  12. I feel a lot better about public speaking than I used to. They were all good points you made, as initially I thought , why is being an introvert (which I am to a certain extent) an advantage? But I saw what you were saying. Preparation is first and foremost, but I think , because of nervousness, I have a tendency to say too much. Reining in is hard, but perhaps for a true invert , that isn’t a problem. I can’t be the only one who chatters on when nervous though surely?
    Public speaking , does on some level appeal to me though, and as an author, I hopefully will have to get used to it. Really enjoyed this post Pat. Thank you.
    A.K.Andrew recently posted…MuseMedium: The Past and John SteinbeckMy Profile

  13. I really enjoyed your blog, Patricia, as I am following a public speaking course here in England. I have forwarded your blog to her and I am sure that she will find it as interesting as I do!

    Many thanks again.

    Wishing you a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

    John Barton
    John Barton recently posted…Was it a very good year for Great Britain and you? Part Two GeneralMy Profile

  14. Great additional tip Donn. And absolutely so true.

  15. Excellent points, Patricia! I coach speakers and teach college courses in public speaking. I would add to your list the strength that comes from one of the differentiators between introverts and extroverts: introverts like to form their thoughts before speaking, whereas extroverts like to form their thoughts BY speaking. For a lot of us (and I would include myself in the introvert fold), the hardest part of speaking is interacting with audience members before and after the speech! We get to rehearse the speech (which goes right along with the research strength you mentioned), but that whole “connect with them before the speech” thing is unscripted!
    Donn King recently posted…You can lessen the grip of media-induced fearMy Profile

  16. So GREAT to hear from you John. And thanks for thinking of me for your prof.

    Merry Christmas to you too.

  17. Hi Pat,

    I was very interested to read this post (just popped over from Dan’s blog). I always come out as an ‘introvert’ in psychometric tests and really regard myself as such, but in my current job I’ve had to develop my presentations skills as I do a lot of training, sometimes to large professional audiences.

    I was hopeless at first, mainly because I was so nervous, but I now invariably get excellent reviews whenever I do a session, and I think the keys to this success are knowing my subject like the back of my hand, listening and relating to my audience and injecting a bit of humour.

    I’ve always been a good ‘listener’, as that’s been a key skill in my previous jobs, but I’ve found it’s equally valuable when I’m making presentations – because it enables me to tune into my audience and respond appropriately.

    You’ve got to have confidence in yourself and relax – if you’re uptight and worried about how you’re coming across, you can’t pay attention to your audience, and I think that’s crucial.

    Thanks for a very interesting read,

    Sue
    Sue Neal recently posted…Content Writing Tips: 6 Lessons From Santa ClausMy Profile

  18. I love it when people confirm what ideas I share from my own experience, in this case, your always being a good listener helping your presentations.

    Thanks Sue!

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