Introvert myth:  Introverts don’t like public speaking

by Apr 22, 2021Improving your work performance

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Introverts and public speaking, is one of the several myths about introverts (read more in negative perceptions of introverts).  Introverts can make the best public speakers, they’re no more likely to dislike presenting in public than anybody else. This article looks at why the myth exists and has 7 tips on how you can you be a great public speaking introvert.

Why don’t introverts like public speaking?

Yes, there are introverts who don’t like public speaking, but many extraverts don’t like public speaking. Equally there are introverts and extroverts who love being on stage presenting (or presenting virtually). As an introvert you might not like being socialising in crowds of people, but being on stage presenting isn’t like that at all.

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

Where does the ‘introverts and public speaking myth’ come from?

Many people conflate liking public speaking with enjoying hogging the limelight, or being loud and brash. Most introverts don’t like being loud and brash, in fact they value humility. But you don’t have to be limelight crazy, loud, or brash to be a great speaker. In fact, most experts say limelight crazy speakers are not that good, even though they may be well known.

Why introverts make the best public speakers.

Many introverts love presenting in public, at work or elsewhere. Here’s three reasons why introverts make the best public speakers.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Most introverts are good listeners and in addition tend to be good observers.  It may sometimes look like an introvert is sitting quietly n a meeting, but they are probably soaking up information – verbal and nonverbal. This understanding helps a speaker consider, and deliver on, the needs of an audience

7 tips on public speaking for introverts

These tips will help introverts be better public speakers (they’ll help extroverts too, but don’t tell them). You might also like to click here to read the episode of Activate Your Introvert, where the Presentation Genius Dr Simon Raybould has three more presenting tips specifically for introverts, it’s well worth a listen.

  1. Use your introvert listening and observation skills, what does the audience need to know about your subject?
  2. Use your planning skills. Check in with some of the potential audience. Do you know what they need, what else do you need to tell them?
  3. 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. Many great presenters have a much quieter more conversational style.
  4. 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.
  5. Keep it simple. Sticking to a simple theme and message will help reduce the tendency to be nervous.
  6. 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, you’ll probably lose some of them if you do. Deliver the big important messages, not all the “proof”.
  7. 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.

Jon Baker presenting the myths of introversion

Jon Baker with an introvert presentation

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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