7 Tips for Being Successful at Speaking as an Introvert

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When I first began speaking I had significant fear, but I knew I wanted to teach and speak, so I  was determined to overcome it. Because you are reading this blog, you are likely an introvert, like me, and having the attention of a crowd isn’t particularly joyful or comfortable. Here are a few tips I have used to overcome that:

Reframe the Emotion

I began saying, “I’m really excited for this speech.” Telling myself I was excited and that excited felt the same in my body as fear. By reframing this, I am way more comfortable. What if the anxiety or nerves you are feeling is really excitement?

If you are really feeling anxiety, could it be that you need more time to properly prepare? Is the anxiety rooted in the fear of being looked at or watched? Get clear about what is really at the base of the emotion and look for ways to overcome that. Perhaps using a mantra or affirmation could help.

Use a Mantra/Affirmation

Sometimes I use a mantra when I’m afraid to help me overcome the fear. These sound like:

I am an expert and people look to me for guidance. I’m happy to be the voice for this cause. I’m honored to share this information.

I am prepared. I spent time really developing my talk and practicing it. I am ready. I am excited!

I look good. I feel good. I know my stuff. The audience is really looking forward to what I have to share today.

I also remind myself that I’ve done this before and it’s gone really well. I visualize past times I have done well and I think about some of the testimonials and reviews I’ve received to remind myself of the positive impact I’ve already had.

Consider NLP

Yes, I am an NLP Practitioner, but before that, I used it to help me overcome some deeply held beliefs that weren’t serving me. Through NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming), I have created some strong resources I use myself to increase my confidence and lower my anxiety around speaking. If you’d like to learn more about this, do an internet search or contact me – I’m happy to chat and see if it’s a good fit.

Power Pose

There are several articles written on this concept and, again, a quick internet search will provide information and research. Basically, stand with your head held high, shoulders back, shoulder blades down, feet apart as wide as your shoulders, and your hands on your hips. This pose is shown to increase the testosterone in your body, which helps you feel stronger and more empowered. If this pose is too difficult to work in, sit straight up in your chair with good posture – that alone will increase your confidence.

Visualization

Before you speak, in the days leading up to it, visualize: the room, the audience, you on the stage. Picture everything going well, you feeling relaxed, calm and impactful. Imagine your audience engaging in a positive way. Smile.

Studies show visualization helps create more calm in your body because your brain can’t tell the difference between what’s real and what’s imagined. By using your imagination, you are in essence making it feel like you have already done your speaking engagement it perfectly. You are building a type of muscle memory that will then make it more likely to happen as you have imagined. Pretty cool, huh?

Shrink or Expand the Room

So, this suggestion is something I created when I really started listening to my internal dialogue about what I was really afraid of. I came to the understanding one day when I was going to speak in a HUGE room and it felt overwhelming. I didn’t mind speaking in smaller, more intimate groups, so I had to somehow figure out how to “shrink” the room. In this case, I moved the chairs that were further in the back to the side so everyone had to sit in the front part of the room, thus making it feel more intimate. I also chose to speak from the floor, rather than the stage. These changes made the room feel smaller and more comfortable for me.

You may also feel a little cramped in a space and that can create anxiety. Consider ways to make the room larger, which could involve moving things around, adding more light, or even just doing a visualization or mantra that the space is exactly as it needs to be.

Take Time to Charge

As introverts, we are charged up by being alone or being connected in a small group of deep, authentic relationships. Before you speak, be sure to allow enough down time to be relaxed and refreshed. After your talk you will likely be approached for several conversations and connections. Be prepared for this and find a way to connect to people long after the event, such as with a sign-up form.

Your sign-up form will allow you to follow up with people on a longer time frame and prevent you from being too overwhelmed immediately after speaking. Be sure to have down time throughout the day or event, or even allow the next full day away to not get “fried.”

 

Are you an introvert who speaks and/or teaches large groups? The great thing about this is that you are building great rapport, just like an extrovert. However, while an extrovert will be charged up by all the attention, you will need to take the time to process and charge back up alone. Build that into your time and keep doing what you are doing to make your positive impact in the world. Looking for more tips or support around speaking or sharing your passion? Let’s chat!

7 Steps to Writing a Great Speech

woman speaker

For some people, speaking to an audience comes very easily – it’s writing their book that is the hard part. For others, it’s the opposite – writing the book in the silence of their own space was fairly easy, especially when compared to the frightening stage. Many of the authors I’ve worked with have written their books in order to open more doors for speaking engagements. Other authors know they will want or need to speak once their book is complete, but haven’t done it yet and don’t know where to start.

This article helps all would-be speakers with a format for a speech of any length, as each section or point can be expanded or contracted as needed.

Step 1: Determine your topic

This may sound a little silly, but choosing a topic is one of the hardest steps. Many writers aren’t sure what they want to talk about as their expertise is quite robust. First and foremost: Know who your audience is and what they are there to learn from you. Do they want to know how you wrote a book? Do they want to ask about the content? Are you sharing a personal story for education, inspiration, or entertainment?

Everything starts with your audience, so consider them and determine your topic based on their interest. If you aren’t sure, ask. More than likely, you’ve either been asked to speak on a specific topic, or you have already pitched your talk and were selected, but in the case that neither is true, take time to determine your topic.

Step 2: Choose 2-4 points to make during your speech

If you are doing a standard speech, choose 2-4 points that will illustrate your topic. More than this can be overwhelming and lose the audience. If you are teaching a class or workshop, this advice doesn’t apply, as you will likely have handouts, a visual presentation, or other devices for retention. But if you are giving a speech that is under an hour, choose your points and limit them.

Step 3: Start with a hook

Just like you start your book with a hook – something that catches the audience’s attention and pulls them in, you should start your speech with one too. A quote, statistic, joke, or funny or otherwise engaging story is a great way to perk the attention of your listeners. Your speaker bio should introduce you and give some credentials, so don’t start your speech there. Instead, start with something of high interest to build rapport with your audience.

Step 4: Practice

Practice makes perfect. Practice and time your speech as you share it – in front of the mirror, to a small group (which could be your spouse and dog, if you want), or even into a voice recorder. We tend to remember the beginning and end of what we write, so practice from different starting points just to get the words into your head and memorized. Make sure your speech is falling into the allotted time frame you are given. Often new speakers will talk very quickly, so practice taking breaths and slowing down.

Step 5: Get into the right mindset

The right mindset may be reframing how you feel about public speaking, performing mantras or power poses, or giving yourself a pep talk. There are several ways to get ready to speak and you need to find the solutions that work best for you. This blog gives some specific suggestions for getting into the right mindset that have worked for me.

Step 6: Have a strong closing

Again, consider your audience and your purpose for being there and deliver a strong closing. For some people, this will be an impactful quote or final take-away thought. For others, it could be a call-to-action, such as asking them to come to the back at break and sign up for your newsletter, buy your book, or learn more about your newest program. When we are new or nervous, we will often forget to say this important piece and leave our audience feeling good, but with no way to connect further.

Step 7: Get feedback

The best way to learn and improve is to get feedback. Consider asking a few people ahead of time if they will watch for certain components and offer constructive criticism so you can implement improvements into your next speech. You can also video tape yourself to review later. We can be our own harshest critics, so I suggest viewing it with another person to help balance the feedback. You could also poll the audience to see if they received what they expected from the speech.

Is there anything you would add? What have you been doing, or not doing, from the list above? Need any guidance or support? If so, let’s schedule a free call to determine what needs you may have around writing your book, speaking about your book, or a plan to have them work together. I also have several connections I may be able to make for you and it all starts here: schedule now.