Being an introvert and public speaking are two things that seemingly don’t go well together. The tale of an introvert is no stranger to everyone. They like internal discourse and immerse less in actual (or external) discussions.
They’re the type who prefers to be in the remotest spot of their abode, cuddling over a book, or writing, or doing anything they can with only them as the participator. Public speaking, on the other hand, invites a world of strangers and exchanges of which introverts are not that interested to engage in.
But, of course, all of these have come to change. In a world dominated by extroverts and a culture that celebrates being one, introverts are propelled or catalysed to do their part. Refer to the following section to see the evolution of views directed towards introverts with regard public speaking.
1. Public speaking is inevitable and important. You’ll have to talk in front of the class. You might have to present a product’s design or development at work. The same thing applies at your community. However, you should not only scare yourself about the fact that no one – not even an introvert like you – can escape public speaking.
Open your eyes and see that public speaking is actually important. Link this back to you and realise that you have something important to say.
2. Differentiate public speaking from public humiliation. The latter is equally scary, isn’t it? Indeed, every single time you step up that platform, there’s always a risk that you’d make a fool of yourself.
However, stay away from the sting of the term, ‘humiliation’ and opt for the real score: embarrassment. Frankly, the former term is an exaggeration of what happens when things don’t go well in front. And embarrassment is a worldwide phenomenon, which makes it practically mundane.
To lessen the risk of ever going through embarrassment you need to do a couple of things: thoroughly practise your spiel, design your slides properly, back it up (especially your notes), and make contingency plans (eg, if the effects don’t work?).
3. Make it easy by becoming a natural at it. Okay, that didn’t sound right? How can public speaking become a natural talent of an introvert?
At first glance, it doesn’t jive. But think about it this way: “Don’t introverts really talk?” They do right – only not with a voice not that powerful enough for everybody in the room to hear. Rather, introverts are more likely to talk in their minds.
Next, why not expand the horizons of that kind of talking? Why not, instead of only addressing yourself (as what mind-talkers are bound to do), extend the addressee towards a wider audience – that crowd in front of you? They’re all ears for you; what are you waiting for?
4. Thinking of public speaking as sharing. Those who remain to feel uncomfortable with the term, “public speaking” should use this one instead: sharing. Perhaps, in the long term, introverts might develop a difficulty for distinguishing the two.
But public speaking is, indeed, sharing. When you’re in front, you’re primary objective is not to garner great feedback; rather, you are there to share a good or bad news, or an information and therefore, educate. This is the rationale behind a proper research and in discovering the significance of what you are to impart.
5. Public speaking stirs improvements. Just as public speaking is inescapable, it is also a positive force towards improvement. When you speak in front and do so in the best way, isn’t your confidence moving a notch away from its present point?
When you see that your audience find it difficult to capture your words or your voice, doesn’t your practises of louder speaking or forming words in your mouth ricochet to your communication skills?
The probabilities are aplenty. And there are considerably a lot of areas to improve – and you will have many chances to perform public speaking.
Introverts that do well in public speaking don’t necessarily lift them out of the crowd. In most cases, an introvert remains to be an introvert forever. Yet, this classification is no excuse to delay your communication skill’s development. And if there’s a delay, it’s not just about you being an introvert; it’s practically, your choice.
Agnes Florence is a London-based public speaking coach who’s got an uncanny love for arachnids. He regularly comments on university students’ communications essays in line of his other love: editing.
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