You've probably noticed that our recent blogs have been centred around aspects of presentations and pitches – which is because we have a fab new open programme workshop called Perfect Pitch coming soon – and when we shared a link to a piece we found called "Who's Happier: Introverts or Extroverts?" last week, it made us think that the introverts among you may like some tips on presenting which come from someone considered an expert.
So, even if you're a born introvert and totally appalled at the thought of standing up and presenting for an audience, according to Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, that doesn't have to mean you can't be an excellent presenter.
The first step is realising that you're not going to fail simply because you're not an extrovert. The second is to learn some basic techniques to help you approach the challenge of speaking to a group of people, be it large or small. Cain recently shared some of these tips for introverts on the blog of presentation guru and designer Nancy Duarte, including:
1. Be yourself; good speakers are not necessarily "naturals." Have you ever watched a fiery orator or a speaker who has the audience in stitches, and thought, "I can't do that"? You might be right--and that's okay. 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 (who happens to be my lecture agent). "But that's wrong. The best speakers are compelling. People underestimate the power of content and of storytelling."
2. Smile. After all of your preparation, relaxation exercises and affirmations, there's one thing left to do, and it's the simplest thing – smile. Smile at your audience as they enter the room, and smile at them when you begin speaking. This will make you feel relaxed, confident, and connected.
3. Serve the audience. 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.
There are more tips which you can find on the original post and of course they can be applied to extroverts who may still be a little nervous of presenting. In the meantime we can help you build your presenting skills whatever your natural style is - who knows, you could even end up loving presenting.
For more information on our Perfect Pitch and Fabulous Facilitations workshops give us a call.