Public Speaking for the Introvert – Things to Consider

Picture of cheerful young woman student wearing glasses with backpack posing over grey wall. Looking aside using laptop computer.

Public speaking is tough in itself, but when you are an introvert, the toughness level reaches a whole new level. Unfortunately, and ironically fortunately, it is unavoidable. Especially when a job you desire is at stake. Introverts have the ability to dive deep in interpersonal relationships. This quality may actually benefit them when speaking publicly. Here is a list of things you can work on to become better at public speaking, especially if you are an introvert:

  1. Speak with purpose – Have you ever been in a group and was caught off guard by someone wanting something from you? You were enjoying being a wall flower and someone asks about your opinion on something. If you didn’t have one or were not prepared, you were probably flustered. When you have a purpose in mind, you will speak more fluidly as the goal of achieving that purpose overrides any nerves you may have. For instance, you raise your hand in a group of 80 people to ask your leaders a question. If you have a purpose in mind, such as the purpose of seeking the answer to your question so that you as well as your co-workers can benefit from it, you are focusing on serving that purpose.
  2. Imagine one-on-one – What makes public speaking so nerve racking is the fact that you may be speaking in front of 80 people. If you break it down though, everyone is their own individual with their own eyes, ears, and perspective. People don’t come together to become a huge monster full of judgments, as it sometimes feel like.  So, direct your attention on the speaker, and realize you are really speaking one on one with this person. With a purpose in mind, tackle that question for yourself and for others.
  3. Be prepared – This tip isn’t as enjoyable, since it actually comes with work. It would be a perfect world if we didn’t have to be prepared, but the fact is, when you are prepared, your mental energy isn’t devoted to not knowing what to say. Like riding a bike, the more you practice something, the more it becomes natural. Once the new skill becomes natural, you can move on to something else. With public speaking, your question at first is like a new skill. Once you are prepared and know what you want to ask, that becomes an old skill and you can focus on something else – such as being mindful after the question is asked!
  4. Grow as a whole – If you have this question, most likely, someone else has this question. Stupid questions come from all sources – such as a minor detail being missed during a discussion, or the difference between information absorption from person to person. If you have a question, be the person charging in front of those who may have the same question ask!

As with everything else in life, the more you practice and do, the better you get. If you find yourself freaking out about what you’re about to do, know that it is merely just something that you’re doing to get to the next stage. Situations can be uncomfortable but with repetition, it becomes comfortable. We hope this helps!