📣 Introverts Speak Up! 📣
Many of my clients self-identify as introverts. I know a bit about introverts because our son Jack is one. He’s in university and takes Computer Science. He also works part-time as a bartender. I’ve seen him in action; he’s gregarious, funny and appears to be loving what he does.
When there’s a group project at school, he’s the one that gives the oral presentation. I asked him once, “You say you’re an introvert, but you’re so outgoing.” He responded with, “It’s all an act!”
In Susan Cain’s Book, Quiet, The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, she writes “…introverts are capable of acting like extroverts for the sake of the work they consider important, people they love or anything they value highly.”
Studies show that a third or one-half of us are introverts. So, how can introverts get up there in front of people?
🗣️ Practice, Practice, Practice
I say this a lot, with all my clients, even if they’re extroverts. The more you practice, the more comfortable you’ll feel.
Practice doesn’t mean reading and quietly saying your speech. It means saying it out loud with the same energy you’re going to use when you present for real. The concert pianist doesn’t practice their concerto quietly, they do it full out.
👑 Wear what you feel great in
We always feel better when we wear something that we like and feel good in. Carolyn Mair, a behavioural psychologist and author of The Psychology of Fashion, writes “When we feel good in what we are wearing, we tend to be more confident. When we are confident, we are able to exert influence through our confidence alone.”
Stand up straight
Maintaining an Up and Out High-Power pose makes you feel more confident. Amy Cuddy has a great TED Talk on this. You can watch it here.
🕒 The early bird gets the worm
Arrive at your venue or boardroom early. This way you can chat with people coming into the space. Then, when it’s time for you to speak you can find a few friendly faces to talk to.
👀 Make eye contact
Look people in the eye when you present. When you look at the audience, they will look at you. They’ll be less tempted to check their phone, because you’re looking at them. You have more authority, and the audience will buy in to your message.
Only look at a person for a few sentences. We don’t want them to think there is something wrong with them, like spinach in their teeth. Plus, you don’t want to alienate the audience, because they’re wondering why this one person is getting all the attention!
😰 You’re Nervous. So, what!
Have you ever been upset and tried to hold it in? For me, I’d just explode! The more we stifle our nervousness the harder it is to keep down. So, allow yourself to be nervous. Say to yourself that its OK.
Take care of yourself
At Christmas this year, our son came home on Dec. 23. I was excited that he could stay a full week when he’d have to return to work the weekend. After 5 days of going out with family, friends and tons of parties, he announced, “I’ve got to go home tomorrow. “As much as I wanted him to stay, I knew that he had had enough and needed time to recharge.
This is exactly what introverts need to do after giving that presentation. Take time to be alone and gather your energy.
Thanks for reading!