introverts and public speaking

susan cain is the author of the new york times bestselling book quiet: the power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking, which is being translated into 30 languages. here are six of her favorite tips. you might be right – and that’s ok. the best speakers are not necessarily dynamic or hilarious – they are simply interesting. “people think that being a good speaker means being funny or glib,” says david lavin of the lavin agency (who happens to be my lecture agent). the best speakers are compelling. at the same time, public speaking is a performance, and that’s a good thing, even if you’re not a natural actor. it’s because they feel liberated when interacting from behind a mask. think of your onstage persona the same way. surprisingly, both gladwell and lady gaga have this in common.

“when i wake up in the morning, i feel just like any other insecure 24-year old girl. introverts are phenomenal listeners, which attunes them to the needs of others. and that’s why speaking (instead of listening) can feel uncomfortable – unnatural, even. your job is to take care of the audience, not to be judged by it or even to entertain it. you are a teacher, a giver, an enlightener. not all introverts are afraid of public speaking – a subset of them loves it – but introverts are disproportionately likely to fear the spotlight. that’s ok. as the public speaking trainer charles di cagno says, “there are only a few people in the world who have completely overcome their fears, and they all live in tibet.” if you have stage fright, accept it and learn how to work with it. according to gina barnett, who coaches many ted speakers, if you have trouble calming your mind before a speech, try calming your body first. after all of your preparation, relaxation exercises and affirmations, there’s one thing left to do, and it’s the simplest thing – smile. smile at your audience as they enter the room, and smile at them when you begin speaking.

in fact, it’s tiring and emotionally laborious to express a personality that isn’t yours, says susan cain, the best-selling author of “quiet: the power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking.” although she is a self-proclaimed introvert, cain speaks at numerous events. cain says that as an introvert living in an extrovert-friendly world, it can start to take an emotional toll on you. still she says that there are times when introverts should step outside of their comfort zone and act out of character — notably, when they need to take on a leadership role. although she now gives dozens of speeches every year, she was terrified of public speaking for a long time. “the key for a leader is to practice in very small doses,” says cain. public speaking is particularly difficult for introverts because it focuses everyone’s attention on the person speaking. when she gave her first ted talks, cain says she was outside of her comfort level.

she had just finished writing her book after a “blissful” seven years of reading, researching and keeping to herself. “that’s a lot harder for me, because as honored as i am to be here with all of you right now, this is not my natural milieu,” cain says in her ted talk. and i call this my “year of speaking dangerously,” she says in the same speech. cain suggests that introverts look at the act of public speaking from a unique point of view. “think: i bring strength to this leadership position,” says cain. she adds that every so often she has to grit her teeth and step outside of her comfort zone — be it public speaking, taking on a leadership role or speaking out in a meeting. cain says that it’s important for introverted people to not try and act like extroverts. “the real power comes from a position of pride and entitlement in who you are,” she says.

by susan cain | 3 min read 1) be yourself; good speakers are not necessarily “ naturals.” 2) what do malcolm gladwell public speaking is particularly difficult for introverts because it focuses everyone’s attention on the person do you find public speaking daunting? here, susan cain offers one of her top tips for overcoming fears and bravely, public introvert and private extrovert, public introvert and private extrovert, famous introvert public speakers, an introvert guide to public speaking, public speaking for introverts books. introverts are phenomenal listeners, which makes them aware of the needs of others. for introverts that\’s why speaking (instead of listening) can feel completely unnatural. they have a greater tendency to remember that public speaking is not about them, knowing it\’s about the audience.

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