An edited and revised book on public speaking for introverts based on the articles from this site
Public Speaking with Confidence
If you ever have to give a presentation at work, read in a church or just stand up and be heard, you need to master public speaking. Public speaking can seem intimidating – but the truth is that its a skill few people ever bother to learn and something you can become better than most people at very quickly. Its all down to following a simple formula:
You’re only as good as your preparation. Everyone has their own way to prepare, but I’ll share my secret of producing perfect presentations with you:
1 Figure out what you want to convince people of – this is the ending of your speech.
2 Figure out 3 points that will convince people of the point you are arguing. These are the body.
3 Look at the ending and your three points – do you notice a pattern. If so, good, thats your theme. Come up with a beginning which ties your theme to your conclusion.
Bam, you have a quick and simple, well structured speech.
Now write your speech out in full. This is the time to play with the words an come up with phrases which dance into the listeners ears. Its the time to be creative and poetic.
Finally, take the speech you’ve written out, and break it down into bullet points. These are the things you’ll actually remember – its far better to go with the audience than to read a presentation out, or recite a memorised spiel.
Standing up in front of a crowd takes courage. But its all a performance – and if you’re an introvert, you quite possibly feel your whole external life is a performance, so you’re on home territory here. Never read your presentation, and never recite it from memory. Instead follow the audience. Keep to the structure, and please use all the wonderful phrases you came up with in preparation – but if you get the crowd to laugh, and you can think of way to take the joke one step further go with it. Very quickly you’ll find you feel like you’re playing the audience as if they are a puppet and you hold their strings.
You can’t do anything that makes you look stupid when presenting, so through your whole self into it. Move around, make big gestures with you hands. Look at people in the back and middle of the crowd and talk straight to them. Point people out instead of making general examples. In short, have fun with your audience.
And, if you can, skip the powerpoint. If people are looking at powerpoint slides, they are not listening to what you have to say. If you wanted them to read the presentation, you could have sent them an email. If there really does have to be powerpoint, try to use it like you would illustrations, figures and titles as you would in a magazine article. Whatever you do, don’t take your bullet points and put them on the slides. You’re here to excite people not show them lots of lists.
The secret of success in presentations is practise. You can practice on your own, or with your husband or wife. You can volunteer to give every presentation at work until you’re fantastic. But if you want an easier route – and especially if the idea of standing up on stage in front of a crowd fills you with horror and you want to take baby steps – join a local Toastmasters group. in just a month or two you’ll be better at presenting than almost everyone you know. Within a year, you’ll be in the top five percent of presenters in the world.