For the more introverted speakers
To these key messages I’m adding some of my own favorite tips, especially for the more introverted speakers. They definitely make me feel more at ease and preserve my energy.
1. Shake it out an smile. Yawn and shake out every limb of your body to loosen yourself up before a speech. Then step on stage and smile. It will help you feel more relaxed and confident, says Susan Cain, author of “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t stop talking”.
2. Conserve Energy. Introverts gather energy from themselves, they lose energy being around others. So public speaking can be very taxing. Make sure to save energy for your speech. Eat healthy, get exercise and most important get your alone time, says Jonathon Coleman Facebook Strategist and Keynote speaker.
3. Being interesting is enough. The best speakers are not necessarily dynamic or hilarious – they are simply interesting. They communicate valuable information. “People think that being a good speaker means being funny or glib,” says David Lavin of the Lavin Agency speakers bureau that represents a lot of TED speakers. “But that’s wrong. The best speakers are compelling. People underestimate the power of content and of storytelling.”
4. Accept your nerves. Not all introverts are afraid of public speaking – a subset of them loves it – but introverts are disproportionately likely to fear the spotlight. That’s OK. As the public speaking trainer Charles di Cagno says, “There are only a few people in the world who have completely overcome their fears, and they all live in Tibet.” If you have stage fright, accept it and learn how to work with it.
5. Self care. Presenting is a massive energy exchange between the speaker and the audience. Prepare in advance how you are going to take care of yourself after the speaking event. Make time for being alone, curl up with a good book or take an extra long nap.
6. Know your strengths. Introverts are phenomenal listeners, which attunes them to the needs of others. And that’s why speaking (instead of listening) can feel uncomfortable – unnatural, even. But remember that public speaking is not about you. It’s about the audience. Your job is to take care of the audience, not to be judged by it or even to entertain it. Remind yourself that you are not seeking approval or love. You are a teacher, a giver, an enlightener, as Susan Cain says.
Good luck. You have something valuable to say, and the world needs to hear it!