One of the greatest misunderstandings of introverts is that we don’t like presenting in front of other people. Like shyness, fear of public speaking is another alleged trait of the introverted person.
If I’m honest with myself, some of the worst speeches I’ve endured have been by people who love the attention but don’t deliver more than the smoke and mirrors of charm and energy. However, some of the best speakers I’ve seen were from presenters who had mastered the material, made the content itself the focus, and intentionally directed their time and energy into delivery. These are usually the introverts and this is how we deliver.
*Introverted workers waste less time socializing. Think back to group work in high school. Those who wanted to work dreaded being stuck with the chatty kids who coasted by on the work of others. Group work felt like a death sentence for me.
*Introverts spend their speaking energy wisely. Since we recharge our energy apart from others, we are more concise about what we say and how we say it.
*Introverts focus on the message. Since we’re more content with thinking before speaking, the concepts we present have the potential for deep impact on an audience. We care about our message leaving an impact more than our persona leaving an impact.
*Introverts identify with the audience. Extroverts ask “how am I doing?” Introverts ask “how are they doing?” Looking inward, introverts can empathize with how an audience feels about the presentation, not just the presenter.
Here’s where I find that my assets as an introvert bring me relief. Because I can imagine myself in the audience, I can be authentic with them. My social reserve is a strength, not a weakness. If I’m prepared well, I’ve not only crafted the message, but I’ve done some serious self-care so that I don’t have to put on a mask. I can be me, and they see it.
Socrates identified three elements to public speaking: the speaker, the message, and the audience. He must have been an introvert. At our best we are aware of ourselves, the message we carry, and the audience who needs what we have.
Remove the stigma of having an inward social battery. Your light can burn longer when you monitor the current. We are the introverts who balance the flow of energy from the audience to a speaker, along with the medium of the message. We’ve got this.
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