When you are asked to think of an introverted person, chances are that you are not thinking about a rock star, a public figure, or even the loveable “loud” friend of your group. These people do share something in common though: they aren’t afraid to speak in front of groups of other people. Based on this assessment alone, the typical “extrovert” is what comes to mind for most when talking about excellent public speakers. However, this isn’t necessarily true.
What do Eleanor Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, and Barack Obama all have in common? They were/ are incredible public speakers – and introverts. Just because an extroverted person feels comfortable speaking in front of people does not mean that they are a meaningful, powerful presenter.
Being an introvert should be considered an asset in the world of presenting rather than a problem for a number of reasons:
- Introverts take the time to prepare. – The confidence level of a speech isn’t dependent upon which personality type you are; it’s about how well prepared you are for the task at hand. The “people skills” that come along with being considered extroverted can only get you so far in a speech. Introverted people tend to hide away for a bit of time to plan ahead and flesh out an idea before stepping on stage so that they are truly prepared to deliver a killer speech.
- They are aware of the needs of the audience. – A typical characteristic of an introvert is being a good listener. This comes in handy when an introvert is preparing for a speech, as they make sure to understand what the audience wants and expects from them as a speaker. A presentation is, after all, about what the audience needs from the speaker and not vice versa. While actually giving a speech, an introvert will watch the audience carefully for any kind of insight that they can obtain on the fly to adjust as they see fit as well.
- They focus on the message. – While extroverts seem to exude confidence and have no problem making themselves the “star of the show,” introverted public speakers realize that they are not actually the most important person in the room. The audience members are, and should always be, the number one priority for any speaker. The most powerful presenters are those who know that their speech will do some good for the audience members, which helps increase confidence levels and decrease overall anxiety. Famous orators such as Winston Churchill faced a great deal of anxiety when it came to speaking to audiences, but they overcame their fear by remembering that their messages were bigger than their nerves.
Are you an introvert? The next time you are asked to speak to an audience of any size, remember to use your personality type to your advantage. You’ve got this.
Would you like to truly hone your presentation skills? We at Communispond created our Executive Presentation Skills seminars to help participants find their speaking strengths, overcome their weaknesses, and get comfortable speaking in front of an audience. Register for one of our public seminars here or feel free to contact me for corporate solutions.