Introverts Can Be The Best Public Speakers
Some of the world’s most successful public speakers are introverts.
Barack Obama, Warren Buffet, Martin Luther King Jr., Ghandi and Winston Churchill are all introverts who riveted the global audience when they spoke. Their styles are varied, but people listened with rapt attention when they spoke.
I’m surprised at how often people say that they don’t like public speaking and attribute it to being shy and quiet introverts.
Whether you’re extrovert or introvert has little to do with your public speaking ability. That skill can be honed with self-awareness, practice of the right techniques and a good coach.
Charging The Personal Battery
Introverts generally don’t like being the centre of the attention and crowds tire them out. Introverts need be alone to recharge their energy.
On the other hand, extroverts get a booster shot of energy from being with people but it doesn’t mean that they all like to speak on stage, or are good at it.
The Art of Speaking
Public speaking is the art of communicating your message clearly and powerfully to inspire, inform or entertain.
Introverts instinctively know that a great speech is not making it about the speaker. It’s always about the audience. They consider what is the benefit to the audience.
As good listeners, they can notice subtle social nuances and are aware of others’ responses. This emotional sensitivity is a massive advantage when it comes to engaging with the audience.
The Real Challenge for Introvert Speakers
However, introverts sometimes get in their own way and start judging their own performance. Or they could interpret their audience’s curiosity and energy as judgment. The key is to identify with the audience and realise that the people are there to learn, not judge.
The other disadvantage for introverts is that they tend to speak with a monotone pitch and are not naturally expressive. In many studies, having a wide vocal range is correlated with charisma and conviction.
The best speakers can change up their vocal variety and physicality to suit the context and audience. This is where it’s easier for extroverts who generally speak with a lot of expression.
Self Pride and Personal Power
Should an introvert model an extrovert and behave them like on stage?
In a CNBC interview, Susan Cain discouraged introverted people from trying to act like extroverts. She adds that stepping out of your comfort zone becomes easier when you’re secure about yourself.
“The real power comes from a position of pride and entitlement in who you are,” she says. “When you have that you become more effective in job interviews, showing up at meetings and speaking up.”
The Ideal Stage for Introverts
Even more empowering for introverts is the current work-from-home context and the high volume of virtual meetings and events. Video is an intimate medium where you’re actually just talking to one person. The other advantage is that often, you’re comfortable at home and that’s the ideal space for introverts.
As an introvert, tapping on the motivation and conviction of your message together with your unique strengths can make you an exceptional public speaker
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