Can you be a great public speaker if you are an introvert?
Let's see: crowds drain us, we hate being the center of attention, we absolutely prefer meaningful conversation with one or two people over small talk with many, and we crave alone time.
This does not sound like the definition of a public speaker, does it?
Wrong. It all depends on how you take what's perceived as your weaknesses and transform them into your strengths. This is what we're diving into today.
If you prefer audio only, you can listen to the full episode on my podcast below or on iTunes.
There are a lot of misconceptions floating around about what an introvert is or isn't like. The perception is that we are these shy, antisocial hermits, and hence cannot be good at public speaking.
Well let's take a look at the characteristics of introverts.
Crowds of people drain our internal batteries, we are particularly uncomfortable with people we don't know, and we hate being the center of attention.
That's a tough one, right? The whole audience is people we don't know and logically speaking, being the only one on stage automatically makes you the center of attention.
But in this case being an introvert proves to be an asset. When you talk to somebody and you don't want to be the center of attention, what do you do? You take the focus off of you and shift it to the other person by asking meaningful questions, and making the conversation all about the other person.
So instead of talking about yourself and basking in the glory that’s you, well, as an introvert, you stop talking about you and make it all about the other person.
And this is exactly what you need to do on stage.
Yes, you are the center of attention, standing on stage and being there by yourself, but you need to forget about you and shift the focus off of you to your audience.
This is not about you, this is about your audience. This is all about how you are making them feel.
So, when you stop wondering, what are they thinking of me? Are they judging me? Are they critiquing me? When you stop having those self-confidence issues and you shift the focus off of yourself and onto your audience, you will only think about them and make it all about them. That’s when the magic happens. You will stop feeling scared of being on stage. You will stop feeling judged, you will only think about your audience.
We favor deep meaningful conversations with one to two people over small talk with many.
At first, this feels impossible to overcome, right? The whole point of public speaking is that you're talking to a whole bunch of people, but let’s see what happens if you change your perspective a little bit.
What if you didn't see this whole bunch of people as a sea of faces but instead made it your mission to speak only one-on-one with one person at a time.
What if you talked to one person for three to five seconds by making meaningful eye contact and truly having a conversation with just one person in the audience.
And then shifted your attention to another person, and spoke with that person for a few seconds. And again, at any point in time, you are only talking to one person. You are having a one-on-one conversation like you enjoy and that you're good at, and you continuing doing this for your whole presentation. You do not talk to everyone at one time.
And not only does this put you at ease and make you feel comfortable, this also helps you create a genuine connection with your audience.
We not only prefer to spend time alone but we actually crave our alone time. This is how we recharge our internal batteries.
Alone time is the perfect time to prepare for our presentation. I know a lot of extroverts who don't prepare well for their presentations. They feel very confident in their skills of just winging it. They feel like they can just go and talk.
I do not know a single introvert who loves being unprepared. Being prepared is something that introverts are really good at.
So take that strength of yours and spend your alone time preparing for your presentation, and also knowing that this is how we recharge our batteries. Spend some time alone right before the presentation.
It is probably not a good idea to go and mingle with a whole bunch of people and socialize before you have to walk on stage and give a presentation. You want to recharge your batteries really well and spend that alone time to prepare and be on top of your game.
I hope you feel a lot more confident to walk on stage as an introvert and engage with your audience.
I wish you lots of success, take care!
You're just moments away from taking the first step towards becoming a confident, compelling, and captivating speaker!