You are a thought leader (or are trying your hardest to become one). As part of your marketing, you put yourself out there as a speaker. It sounds simple. It’s not.
There are plenty of reasons why “speaking before a group” is the #1 fear of human beings. Regardless of whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, it is a tall task.
What if someone doesn’t agree with you? What if other people know more about the topic you are speaking on than you do? What if you act like a “deer in the headlights” and forget what you intend to say? After all, we’re all human and therefore susceptible to human foibles. What if…? The list is endless.
Here are a few points to ponder on the topic.
If you are an introvert, you actually have an advantage! You are probably a better writer than many extroverts – even though you may not give yourself credit for it. There is a good chance that you are at least more inclined to put pen to paper than they are.
While extroverts are out socializing, you can gather your thoughts on the topic. Don’t’ forget to jot them down as you contemplate the assignment. Hopefully, by the time you are ready to sit down and pull it all together, you will have some notes to help you “assemble” the speech. I recently heard World Champion speaker Mark Brown use that word. He said he doesn’t so much write a speech as he assembles it.
The strength of an introvert is in the preparation. And preparation is the single most important characteristic of a good talk.
A word of caution for introverts: Do NOT try to wing it! It will be devastating.
We introverts can’t even decide whether to call you extraverts or extroverts. That’s how different we think you are from us.
How anyone can talk their way through a speech is beyond us. It’s not that we aren’t annoyed – and frankly jealous (we often are). It is that we think you sometimes repeat yourself and meander. Therefore, we certainly hope you have at least put together an outline!
The strength of extroverts is that they have the gift of gab. They are often very articulate, uninhibited and comfortable speaking.
A word of caution for extroverts: Watch your time and don’t ramble.
THE PART CONFIDENCE PLAYS
The Bible tells us to “Think of yourself with sober judgment.” The reality is that no one likes a showoff. We all know that people who are arrogant eventually get put in their place because “pride goes before a fall.”
However, it is very uncomfortable to listen to a speaker who has false humility. They might apologize for not being prepared or be overly self-deprecating, both of which can be cringe-worthy. Both of these things can demonstrate a lack of respect for the audience, the topic or the speaker him or herself.
There are some who feel that “Fake it ‘Til You Make it” is the order of the day. That certainly goes a long way – but needs to come off as enthusiasm, not phoniness.
More than anything else, people want authenticity. If the presenter is simply confident in his or her preparation, rather than in their superiority, that should go a long way toward endearing themselves to their audience.
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