Powerful Presentations by the Powerful Introvert


Image courtesy of chanpipat / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Have you ever felt or believed you were talented in or gifted with a particular skill and then when you try and write about it, you struggle? As a professionally paid speaker for many years I would not have thought that would be a situation for me, but it startled me to find myself almost speechless. Chapter six of Communication Toolkit for Introverts: Find your voice for everyday business success, is about success in powerful presentations!

This chapter begins by comparing the common occurrence of a presentation to a tape measure: if you have not used a tape measure in life, it’s likely you have seen one. If you have not given a presentation in your work, you most likely have had to listen to one.

As common as presentations or public speaking is, some people would rather walk a tightrope over a high canyon than speak in front of an audience. The introvert and extrovert might likely be in agreement about it!

What is presentation power?

Over the years attending corporate conferences, I’ve listened to celebrity status people like Tom Peters the author of In Search of Excellence, Herbert Marcus of Neiman Marcus, inspiring speakers with messages of surviving prison during wars, overcoming odds of a disability and CEOs of corporations. Many speeches by people with as many real life stories, and messages that I can hear 10, 20 and 30 years later. Others who both bored me then, and leave me scratching my head now, “What was their message?”

How is it some people are able to take their personal experiences, their learning, and communicate a clear, memorable and powerful message? Is there any difference between and extrovert and introvert in being able to deliver that kind of message? It likely gets down to the individual.

But the introvert has some distinct advantages.

A powerful presentation, from an introvert?

Most memorable speakers are that way because of preparation and planning with their personalized message. While an introvert might get caught up in over preparation, planning is one of our best attributes to ensure our message is heard. And, while we don’t often think about it, our listening becomes an advantage as well. What is powerful in a presentation is when the speaker adjusts some part of their message; the tone, the words, the pace, because they are tuned into their audience. They see and hear either the engagement or lack of it. Then, they adjust.

If I can just tame those butterflies.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Do an internet search about famous people afraid of public speaking and you will find references like: Kidman told Vogue magazine: “I panic in front of all the cameras. My hands start shaking and I have trouble breathing.”

It’s said Julia Roberts overcame stuttering as a child and now of course, is one of the most world-recognized actors.

You likely know of celebrity status people who claim this fear.

The point is, the power presentation or message, is about the practice, preparation and owning your space. One tip for the more introverted who might tend to shy away from accepting an invitation to speak or present: think about people who you easily engage with on a one to one level. Assess what it is about how you speak with them that makes the conversation personal and powerful. Then, bring those actions or traits with you next time you are asked to take the platform.

As it turned out, this chapter is one of the two longest in the book at 30 pages. From the personal presentation assessment you will find introvert specific, not just general tips for:

– the best preparation techniques,

– the most effective butterfly catchers,

– purposeful dual purpose gestures,

– how to tell stories that engage people,

– how to let your passion be heard,

– what you can do to keep people from dozing off and more difficult situations,

– and 30 pages of practical advice to make your next introvert presentation your best.


What makes you the most anxious about giving a presentation?


What do you do well when speaking in public?


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  1. It’s always a given I will stumble over my words, even when I’m comfortable. I’ve gotten used to it and stopped being hard on myself. It helps that my inner-comedian and wannabe inner-extrovert tend to balance everything out. Roll with it is what I say. Public speaking never killed anybody 😉
    Jeri recently posted…#AuthorInterview: Monica BrunoMy Profile

  2. Pat, when I started reading this article my first thought was that all human beings have stage fright which was subsequently mentioned by you. Know famous people who fall into that category even after decades in front of the camers.

    Whenever I give a presentation I prepare it to the best of my ability and try to tell a passionate story. Then I tell myself that it’s normal and good that I’m nervous. And it it because I have actuallyt found that it’s when we believe nothing can go wrong that we are hit in the head.
    Catarina recently posted…Tough times never last – But tough people doMy Profile

  3. I’ve become better at the prospect of speaking in public – not presentations per se, but in groups, but it does not come naturally and had a major fear of public speaking until I was forced into it. Not knowing , or forgetting what to say is the fear, or saying er..er…after each sentence. Generally giving a poor performance is my fear. Good post Pat:-)
    A.K.Andrew recently posted…Kickstart Your #Flash Fiction With #PhotoFlashMy Profile

  4. Jacqueline Gum (Jacquie)

    I have a speech impediment…I am a stutterer. It’s a brain injury sustained a fall from my bike at age 8. Through years of speech therapy, I have acquired the skill of word substitution. I can feel, when I’m speaking, a word that I may stumble on maybe a full sentence before, so I substitute a word. However, it’s difficult for me to read prepared text because word substitution is not an option. As an author, this makes book readings a nightmare for me!
    Jacqueline Gum (Jacquie) recently posted…Ethics Violations… Where’s The Justice?My Profile

  5. Patricia- I am an extrovert and I would have to say I would not like to give a speech to any audience. I prefer a one on one communication. Maybe because I have been selling for years one on one. I think all of us have fears of some type when we make a presentation to an audience. I can speak to a small group of people but not a crowd. I am thankful in business that I do not have to make presentations
    Arleen recently posted…How Mentally Strong People Run the WorldMy Profile

  6. Jeannette Paladino

    Pat — I’ve given a lot of talks and also facilitated a lot of training sessions, so I’m pretty comfortable on the platform (I’m also an extravert as you know). But there is always that instant before you start speaking when you can feel your nerves jangling. That’s not all bad. It sharpens your senses and keeps you on your toes. If you’re not a little nervous I think you can fall into a rut and start spouting the same things over and over again.
    Jeannette Paladino recently posted…Inc. 500 Increase Use of Pinterest and Instagram to Tell StoriesMy Profile

  7. It’s not necessarily that I get nervous doing a presentation or speaking in public. However because I am dyslexic, I do have to spend way more time preparing and practicing my presentation than most people. By the time presentation day rolls around, I have gone over it so many times, most of the nerves have subsided.
    Susan Cooper recently posted…Nugget Markets: Not An Ordinary MarketMy Profile

  8. Hi Patricia,

    I have never gotten up in front of anyone and given a presentation. It literally petrifies me to death.

    When I’m shooting my videos I’ll stumble over words even if I’m in a comfortable setting here all by myself. That’s just who I am and I’ve accepted that. I’ve had people tell me that I need to practice more because I’m not coming off as very professional. I don’t want to come off that way if I’m honest. With what I teach I want people to feel comfortable and see that anyone can do this too because I’m not perfect. I’m also not in a corporate setting though which is another reason I left corporate America to build my own business online.

    Adrienne recently posted…Can You Make A Living From Your BlogMy Profile

  9. Cheryl Therrien

    As an introvert I over plan everything. My biggest fear has always been that someone will ask a question and I won’t know the answer. As a software trainer I had to come up with some interesting work arounds for people where there was not a straight forward answer. So for me this fear continues to be my biggest fear – not knowing the answer to a question.
    Cheryl Therrien recently posted…#Eyebright: Another ‘At Risk’ HerbMy Profile

  10. That not being able to answer a question in a presentation is a common fear Cheryl. The key in that is (now hold on to you introvert strength) is to think about and even ask others, what questions they might have around your topic. Voila. Questions to prepare for. Thanks.
    Patricia Weber recently posted…Introverts can put down the axe to grind for conflict managementMy Profile

  11. Christina

    Hmmm, you got me thinking. Is it an introvert trait to overly prepare? I tease that I usually have a plan C and D. To the outside world it looks like I’m adaptable and flexible. Behind the scenes, I’ve planned for unexpected scenarios.
    Christina recently posted…Photography Tip: Quick Tips for Zoom Effect Camera TrickMy Profile

  12. Beth Niebuhr

    I tend to over prepare when speaking on a new topic and then less as I become very comfortable with it. I also focus on the people in the audience rather than myself and that helps.
    Beth Niebuhr recently posted…Serve The Ones You LikeMy Profile

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