How An Introvert Can Survive Giving A Presentation
Planning ahead makes all the difference
Around 10% of us are introverts (though even Jung proposed it was the rare person who was 100% introverted 100% of the time), but nevertheless the world is more neatly arranged for the extravert. Introverts can be excellent salespeople and also presenters (as can extraverts), but they do it differently. If you are one and do public speaking, or manage one who does, here are some tips.
- Extraverts speak to think; introverts think to speak.
Speaking is not the ‘first’ tongue for an introvert. Extraverts talk it out, figuring out what they think by talking to someone. Introverts are often on the receiving end of this! An introvert prepares everything in their head thinking it through first, before they speak, which is excellent preparation for a presentation.
- Create the day before.Introverts tend to be introspective. Since you’ll likely be preoccupied the day before, clear your desk of complicated matters, and do easy, mindless tasks.
- Create the day after.People energize the extravert, and drain the introvert. Plan the day after a presentation as well. Immediately following the presentation, do what calms, soothes, or re-energizes you. The next day, generally there’s processing of the speech or event, as people call you to compliment you, go over points, or praise the event. Aside from that, don’t have anything taxing scheduled.
- If you manage an introvert, understand the rhythm pattern.Something intensely people-oriented is a much longer-term event for an introvert than it is for an extravert. Allow for this in scheduling and you’ll get the best out of your introverted employee, along with their deep appreciation.
- Have someone come work the presentation with you.Managing a presentation is a lot more than standing up there talking. It’s ‘crowd control’ when done right. Working the crowd beforehand, visiting with them during breaks and afterwards, passing out business cards and brochures, getting email addresses … there are a lot of details to attend to, and you can present better if you know someone trustworthy is ‘taking care of details’.
- Hire an introvert coach.Introvert coaches understand the needs of an introvert and can help you master the things that tend to be obstacles for all introverts. I refer clients to Nancy Fenn who is an iNfp introvert, a rare 1% of the population called The Healer. (the Keirsey Temperament Sorter). You can find an introvert coach by checking on a coaching referral site or search engine for other introvert coaches.
- Learn what nurtures and revitalizes you.As an introvert, it is likely others will have ideas of how to help you, and likely they’ll be wrong since “you” are 10%, and “they” are 90%. Knowing yourself and being able to ask for what you need is always the best policy.
- Train your colleagues and loved ones.I presented on a cruise last year that also featured “The Fifth Dimension,” and the lead singer came to my presentation, as did her husband. I asked him what it was like being with her during the time before she, an introvert, performed. He said he had learned that she “disappeared” and wasn’t reachable, and the best thing for him to do was to “be around but not very much present.” Now there’s a loving couple. “Coffee,” he said, “but no demands. I save discussing world peace or the in-laws for another time.”
- Get a massage.Introverts tend to carry tension in their muscles. Just as a tennis player gets a massage immediately after the match to get rid of the toxins, you can get a massage, literally, and/or have a coaching session where the psychic muscles can be massaged and detoxed.
- Project confidence.Introverts respond well when around someone who quietly believes in them. Since they generally over-prepare for things, you can assume (unless proven otherwise), they’re prepared and will perform well, but all performance situations go best with learned optimism and a positive yet gentle force field. In other words, don’t “fuss” over them or over details. And if you’re an introvert, work on your emotional intelligence skills, including optimism.
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