Updated: May 31
Winston Churchill, Eleanor Roosevelt, Nelson Mandela, Abraham Lincoln, Bill Gates…what does this distinguished list have in common?
Leadership might come to mind.
What might not come to mind as quickly is that all these people were/are introverted. Yet, they commanded audiences. People were moved by their remarks and they delivered those remarks powerfully.
So can you.
Being an introvert does not make you disadvantaged when it comes to public speaking. On the contrary, introverts can be exceptional public speakers because of their introverted tendencies.
Introverts spend a good deal of time in their heads - thinking. Thinking through remarks, thinking about the audience, thinking about impact all are important when it comes to creating and presenting your material. When you’ve thought through what you want to say and the message you need to deliver, your focus is clear. You know why you’re giving the talk. You likely aren’t doing it to have people look at you, you are delivering your message for the benefit of those in the audience. Being audience-focused is an enormous asset. All speakers should do this but as an introvert, you’re more inclined to think about the audience.
When you consider the audience, everything about your presentation gets easier. It’s easier to draft and it’s easier to deliver. Thinking about how you’re serving the audience is also a tool in managing your nerves as a speaker. Shifting into service energy will release your focus on yourself and shift the focus to the audience. You’re not getting ready to give a performance, you are getting ready to help the people who are there to listen. This is not only true when you’re on a big stage but it’s also true in smaller venues like when you’re giving an update to peers as part of a meeting. You have something of value to communicate. What you say will help someone who hears your message.
Don’t underestimate your effectiveness as a speaker because you are an introvert. Embrace what makes you an introvert and consider how it can contribute to your speaking success. There are plenty of examples of introverts who changed the world with their ability to communicate publicly. Imagine how the world would be different if Winston Churchill declined to speak to the people because he was an introvert?
Don't keep from sharing your message because you're an introvert. Your introverted nature means you likely have well-thought-through value to communicate. You are prepared to educate, equip, and encourage the audience regardless of the size of the crowd. As you spend time in your head thinking about your upcoming remarks, be sure and give yourself time to think about and appreciate the value you’re delivering. Then, go and deliver the value in service of your audience. You’re the perfect person to do so!