Introvert myth:  Introverts don’t like public speaking

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There are several myths around about introverts, some are listed under negative perceptions of introverts and others can be read here. One that always makes me smile, as I mention it when on stage presenting is that introverts don’t like public speaking

Why don’t introverts like public speaking?

Yes, there are introverts who don’t like public speaking , but there are also many extraverts who don’t like public speaking. Equally there are both introverts and extroverts who love being on stage presenting (or presenting virtually), me for one.

A fear of public speaking (glossophobia), or dislike of presenting, is not the same as being introverted.

Why does this myth exist?

Most people seem to conflate liking public speaking with enjoying hogging the limelight or being loud and brash. It’s true that most introverts don’t like being loud and brash and value the much quieter humility. But you don’t have to be limelight crazy, loud, or brash to be a great speaker. In fact, many people would say limelight crazy speakers aren’t that good, even though they may be well known.

Jon Baker presenting 5 myths about Introversion

Can introverts make good public speakers?

Yes, many introverts love presenting in public, at work or elsewhere.

Because introverts prefer not to put the attention on themselves, their delivery focuses on the message and on their audience. That means the presentation is more likely to focus on audience benefits.

Their reflective nature can make it easier for them to sense how engaged their audience is, it certainly allows them to reflect of the needs of the audience.

Most introverts are good listeners and in addition to this the tend to be good observers.  It may sometimes look like an introvert is sitting quietly n a meeting, but they tend to be soaking up information – verbal and nonverbal. This understanding helps a speaker consider, and deliver on, the needs of an audience

Presenting tips for introverts

Click here to read the episode of Activate Your Introvert, where I interview the presentation genius, Dr Simon Raybould. He had three great tips that were specifically for introverts, it’s well worth a listen.

These are my tips, which will help introverts, but also extroverts:

  • Use your introvert listening and observation skills, what does the audience need to know about your subject?
  • Use your planning time to check in with some of the potential audience. Do you know what they need, what else do you need to tell them?
  • Use a speaking style that suits you and your personality. You don’t have to present in a loud exaggerated manner, just because that’s what others do.
  • Know the subject and what you’re going to cover really well, but don’t memorise an entire speech. That will turn it into an act, rather than a great presentation.
  • Keep it simple. Sticking to a simple theme and message will help reduce the tendency to be nervous.
  • Keep out of the detail: Many introverts have a tendency to being detail focused. You don’t have time to go into lots of detail with your audience, and you’ll lose a lot of them if you do. Deliver the big important messages, not all the “proof”.
  • Simple slides: If you have to have slides keep them simple, big and bold with few (if any) words. This keeps you engaged with your audience and reduces any tendency for you to read, it also means the audience are listening to you not reading. If you want to improve your slides, you might like to visit the Slide Presentation Man, author of “Your Slides Suck”

If you want more presentation tips, click here and visit SImon’s website. It’s full of great ideas, rather than “just” the normal ideas.

The good thing for introverts

As a speaker, it’s not about you. It’s about your audience, helping them, serving them, making them think.


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