Hello, this is Laura Lee Rose – author of the business and time management books TimePeace: Making peace with time and The Book of Answers: 105 Career Critical Situations– and I am a business and efficiency coach that specializes in time management, project management and work-life balance strategies. Stephen Wynkoop and I regularly meet on professional development topics. Our interviews can be found at Laura Rose Career Management Series
This week’s topic was “Public speaking tips for introverts”
7 public speaking tips for introverts
As we rise up the corporate ladder, public speaking (whether in the form of presentations, proposals or seminars) becomes a large part of our advancement. It helps us build our reputation, credentials and professionalism. As our career develops, our professionalism and talent needs to become more public; therefore, public speaking will become a part of the job.
Even though public speaking is important to any career advancement, many are uncomfortable in front on an audience.
Here are some quick tips:
1) Consider ToastMasters to improve your public speaking. It’s a unintimidating environment filled with people with the same goals.
2) Talk about things you are passionate and know about. Everyone is excited to talk about their passions and experiences.
3) Practice, practice, practice. Take every opportunity to stretch yourself. At every interaction, make it a goal to tell one story to a stranger or group (just one story).
4) Think positive. Visualize the speech several times before you actually make it. Screenplay it exactly has you want it to go. While you are speaking, pretend that you are someone else. Channel one of your role models and give the speech as he/she would do it.
5) Everyone understands how difficult it is to speak in front of groups. They appreciate what it takes to get up there and want you to succeed. Acknowledge that everyone in the audience is on your side.
6) Another thing that helps is to use your speech to speak well of someone else. Sometimes it is easier to speak of someone else’s’ endeavors and accomplishments because you are placing the spotlight on them (instead of on yourself).
7) Use a familiar prop. Sometimes a prop helps with nerves because some of your attention is focused away from the audience and onto the prop. Creating “how to” speeches or presentation is an easy way for introverts to ease into public speaking. Make sure you know “how to” do that item.
Let’s cover some of these tips in more detail.
Talk about things you are passionate and know about. Talk about things you know all about. Start with some “how-to” presentations or items that you are the resident expert.
To avoid the “audience know-it-all”, talk about your experience. If someone disagrees with your opinion, all you have to do is say, “Well, this has been my experience. Your results may vary.”
If/When you don’t know the answer, use that opportunity to business network. Say, “I don’t know, but I am also interested in the answer. I’ll look into that. If you can leave your business card or contact information, I’ll find out and will get back to you.”
Practice, Practice, Practice. In this day and age, there is no reason not to practice. Most laptops, Ipads, tablet, iphone has camera/video options. Film your speaking engagements; setup weekly BlogTalkRadio episodes, give webinar presentation, setup Brown Bag Lunch session at the office; offer to speak at your professional organization or business networking meetings. There is an unlimited number of ways to practice.
Use props such as PowerPoint slides, short video, cartoon, joke, white board, chalk board, demo software, or a visual aide to illustrate a point or metaphor. This allows you distract yourself away from the audience.
Focus on someone else’s accomplishments and achievement in your speech. By focusing your attention on your admiration on someone else, you forget about yourself.
Pick one or two faces in the audience and talk directly to them. Pretend that they are new friends and you are just explaining your topic to them. Everyone in the audience is already interested in your topic (otherwise they would not be there). So there are already tuned-in and supporting.
Just relax and breathe. Everyone is already one your side in this.
In the Professional Development Toolkit, I go into the: who, what, where, when and how to accomplish all of the above. I also have a transferable skill worksheet.