Public Speaking Tips for Introverts

If you are an introvert getting to speak publicly for the first time, you’d love this

Photo by Marcos Luiz Photograph on Unsplash

Initially, I wondered why people take water after speaking from a podium for several minutes. When I began public speaking, I understood. Thankfully I didn’t have to learn it the hard way. Standing in front of the crowd is often not so strange when you have put yourself there in your mind numerous times.

Does the crowd scare you? Maybe you are like me and you strongly prefer not to be standing up there. But for one reason or the other, you have to be there. These are tips that you can use an introvert to make your public speaking (especially, your first) a beautiful and successful experience.

1. Prepare

Nothing kills a public speech than a lack of preparation. You need to do your due diligence by crafting out your entire speech into bullet points.

You can get someone to do that for you, but then you have to get in sync with the message of the speech. You have to condition your mental state to accept that.

2. Visualize the event

The mistake people make here is to practice giving the speech. As an introvert, it is crucial for you NOT to practice the public speaking, especially when the event is very close. This is because you will be overwhelmed by your nervousness during your practice. And your confidence will reduce more and more as you practice. The practice will only make you become aware of your inadequacy.

Instead of practising, you should visualize

Visualize the event and imagine that you gave a very successful speech. Play it again and again in your mind. Think about the message of your speech, imagine yourself giving it at the event in all boldness and confidence. Also, imagine the applause and audience reactions that result from that.

You can never visualize too much. Do it until you become somewhat comfortable with the speaking event. Do it until you start smiling and muttering when you visualize it.

3. Don’t try to put up another personality on stage

Introverted people often think that they have to be extroverted when they are on stage, speaking publicly. This can kill the whole speaking vibe. You need to understand that:

The audience has the capacity to accept your personality the way it is

So, if you talk slowly, don’t try to be loud and fast. There are many ways to be passionate without being persuasively emotional.

4. Check out videos of people like you doing public speaking

I particularly like TED and TEDx videos. The event has had different types of speakers over the years such that it is easy to find someone like you. One of my favourite speakers was Elizabeth Gilbert. She was simple, calm and communicated effectively.

The goal is to communicate effectively, for your audience to follow and understand what you are saying

Always keep this in mind.

5. Start with something interesting

Some like to start with a joke. I really don’t like that. I often prefer something more organic. You could talk about how you got on stage. That’s like telling the story of how they made you (someone who doesn’t like public speaking) to stand up there. And make the story very relatable. It may not be funny, but it must be relatable by your audience. You can involve mimicking someone the audience knows very well.

In some cases, you may not be able to do specifically that. Which is why you might need to start with a story (which can be tied to relevant research). If you have prepared well, this would be easy. In your preparation, you determine what to start with. In your visualization, you grow to make yourself comfortable with starting that way.

You can also plan to end this way also.

6. Look the audience in the eyes??

Many say this, but I think it is bad advice for a first-time introvert doing public speaking. Don’t be afraid or be ashamed of looking at the floor. Yes, it is a not so good practice but it can be a lifesaver at your first public speaking experience.

Look at the floor but make sure you are communicating

You can look up at the audience when they cheer or laugh or applause. But as soon as they go back cold again, you can just keep staring at the ground till you are through.

7. Speak articulately and keep speaking until you are through

You don’t have to shout, but you need to speak clearly. And when you are speaking, remember your visualizations.

Make your experience on the stage be exactly like your visualizations

When you are done, then you can care what people really think about your performance. When you are up there, you shouldn’t care what people think. What should be on your mind is what you imagined in your visualization.

You also should not be too deep in your own world, so if there is something you need to attend to on stage, you can spot it and make the change.

8. If you go blank, check your notes

The audience consists of humans. Don’t try to act like a pro on your first day. In fact, you can decide to read out your entire speech. But put in gaps to gauge the response of the audience. Give them time to laugh, clap, or respond in some way.

It is important that the audience is given time to react in some way during the speech

Don’t wait for the applause at the end. It’s better to get it somewhat in the middle first.

9. Keep it short

This is too important. If you are given 10 minutes, use 8. If you are given 30 minutes, plan to take just 25. The shorter the better. But that doesn’t mean that you should do a 30 minutes speech in 10 minutes.

Public speaking is cool when you get the hang of it. If you do your first one right, your fear will turn into excitement for the next one. And it can grow to become something you absolutely love even if you are an extreme introvert.


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