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10 Powerful Public Speaking Tips for Introverts

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As a small business owner, you are the ambassador of your brand, and chances are if you want to be successful, you’re going to have to stand behind a podium or two in your career. But if you are an introvert, and the very thought of speaking to a group of people makes you want to hide, what should you do? In truth, people who are fantastic public speakers are not super human, they simply work hard and know how to emphasize what they already do well. You can do this, too!

Public speaking tips for introvertsBelow are 10 public speaking tips for introverts that can dramatically change your experience for the better:

1. Preparation is key. Spend time putting your speech together so that it flows logically and is made more vibrant with stories, examples, and props, such as images. For inspiration, try watching other great, yet relatable, speakers on video. You may even want to read the transcripts to see how they crafted their speeches. When it’s all done, practice saying your speech out loud until you can give it over fluidly and comfortably.

2. Accentuate the positive. Get in touch with your strengths and weaknesses as a public speaker. Don’t try to change yourself or be something you’re not. Focus on what you do best- whether you have a great sense of humor, or you’re a good story teller, or you know how clearly break down and explain complex ideas.

3. Invest in your audience. Think about what your audience wants to hear. What problem do they hope to solve? What hopes do they have? Give them what they want and need. You’re audience needs to have a reason to listen. In your opening remarks strive to relate to them and focus on relaying not just your message, but the reasons why they need and should want to know about it.

4. Get in touch with your on-stage persona. No matter how you slice it, public speaking is a performance. Even if acting is not something that comes naturally to you, you should try to get in touch with your on-stage persona. In the process, you may discover a more extroverted part of yourself that you didn’t know was there, and the whole experience can end up feeling liberating and exhilarating instead of anxiety-ridden.

5. Get comfortable with the environment. Check out the location where you will be speaking before the event happens. It will help you to feel more comfortable and secure when the big day arrives. Another suggestion would be to plant a few supportive friends or family members in the audience who can throw you an encouraging look or two as you are presenting. Just realize that you may get so caught up in the speech that you may not actually see them! Still, it could be a comfort to have them there.

6. Pay attention to your appearance. Be sure not to overlook a key confidence booster on the day of your speech: your attire. Think about how great you feel when you’re groomed and crisp in your favorite tailored outfit; when you look great, you feel great. On the other hand, if causal dress is allowed, maybe that will make you feel more comfortable and engaging. Audiences will initially judge you based solely on your appearance, so make an effort to dress in a way that conveys the messages you want to.

7. Start with a smile. Research has shown that the act of smiling- even artificially- can actually make a person feel more happy and at ease. So, put a big smile on your face when you begin speaking. Many people in the audience will probably smile back at you, too. This will make you feel relaxed, confident, and connected.

8. Start off with a story. A story is a great way to get your speech going. Not only does it have the potential to peak initial interest, but it can also help set your audience in time, place and mood. Emotions are the touchstones to speech success, so tug on a string of feelings to get your audience invested early on. Also, wrapping up your speech with an afterthought on your opening story is a nice way to bring the experience around full circle while providing a satisfying close for your audience.

9. Let others do the talking. Keep the communicative theme going and consider asking questions directly to your audience. Not only will asking questions to the crowd get you some active participants, but it will help ease any nerves you have by sharing the spotlight. If time allows for it, consider preparing a role-play scenario that, through audience participation, could exemplify one of your points in real time.

10. Schedule some down time. Public speaking can be a serious energy drain especially if you are an introvert. So one of the most important public speaking tips for introverts is to make sure you’ve got some alone time scheduled both before and after an event that will allow you to recharge and process the experience.

Have some public speaking tips for introverts of your own? Share it with us in the comments below.

Comments (19)

  • Thanks for a great article Kelly. Being an affirmed introvert (INTP) myself with 20+ years experience/endurance of public speaking, presentations, and executive workshops I can vouch for the power of the techniques you describe. I guess I would add…
    – Plan (word for word if you have to) what you will say in the first 30 seconds, and the last (eg dont just stop speaking and then sit down).
    – Try to avoid over-scripting the rest as you will come across as wooden and un-engaging.
    – When rehearsing your patter, stand up and look around the room as you will do on the day. You might feel weird (especially if doing this on your own!) but thats the point. It will help acclimatise you to the ‘performance’.
    – Also practise your patter out loud. It always surprises me how many supposedly clever words and phrases I jot down only to find that they are over-long sentences, or unintelligible tongue twisters when said out loud!

    • Hi Kevin,

      These are great tips!
      I can definitely vouch for rehearsing out loud and moving about. Not only does it help to clean up the wording, but often new ideas or important tangents happen this way, and it makes the speaking event go much smoother.

  • Yes, spot on advice – the one thing I’d add is that introverts are often deep thinkers and that’s something that can be an advantage when speaking publicly; like, never forget that all the technique’s just the wrapper; content is king. Great and insightful content may often be the introverts biggest strength.

    • Hi John,

      As an introvert myself, I definitely agree with that… But, it’s not that all introverts are deep; it’s that they spend more time processing and thinking things over- which automatically gives everything a certain depth. This is something that even extroverts can learn to do.

  • Always remember the 6 p’s.
    Planning, Preparation, Prevents Piss Poor Performance.

  • Great discussion. Thanks Susan.

  • Record yourself and watch it back to improve presentation.

    • Yeah, that’s a good tip, because you can see yourself from the outside and instantly pick out any areas that may need improvement. It’s something I’ve done myself for some important presentations.

  • Wonder ful points specially no.06 and no.07 I am a muslim this is our prophet’s basic He always
    smile .

    Keep going

  • Great article! I would add that if the audience is small enough, throughout your speech randomly establish direct eye contact with some of the members of the audience. It will increase the credibility and sincerity of the speech. This has a tremendous impact on your message and the audience’s willingness to accept it.

    • Hi Tonia,

      I agree, eye contact is very important, and unless the audience is extremely large, you can usually manage to catch someone’s gaze- especially among the people sitting in the front rows.

  • I think this is great speaking advice for anyone, introvert or otherwise! Thanks, and happy holidays!

  • Hi Kelly,

    these are all amazing tips – public speaking is part of my future goals… and I’m an introvert! So I couldn’t have found this at a better time.

    Thanks again


  • Here’s a tip I learned as an actor that may help introverts with public speaking. Pretend you’re someone else giving the speech. That person should be someone you know who has a lot of confidence. Just do the speech as that person and their confidence will rub off on you.

  • Came across this post pretty late, but I’m glad I did. Could associate with every point mentioned here. Especially loved the point about downtime, but I would beg to differ on letting others do the talking, because that that quickly lead to a speech digressing from its theme. Some additional suggestions from me are:
    1.) Peep into your audience’s mind and choose a topic which addresses their challenges and concerns.
    2.) Share your insights. It reduces your fear of speaking and makes a talk interesting.
    3.) Close with a bang. Schedule Q & As before you sum the presentation up so that people remember what you spoke last.

    I just wrote on a similar subject. Would love to hear your thoughts on it 9 tips to deliver a memorable presentation each time you speak

  • #6 about getting in touch with your on-stage persona… It’s simply amazing how many people do not want to do this and say they don’t want to feel fake when they talk in front of the people. You are totally right about “public speaking is a performance” no matter how to look at it.


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