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An edited and revised book on public speaking for introverts based on the articles from this site

Success With Public Speaking For Introverts

I’m putting together a series of articles, of which this is the first, specifically to discuss how introverts can discover the skill of public speaking: a skill which i believe makes fantastic use of introvert’s hidden talents – and which allows introverts the opportunity to sell themselves, their needs and their ideas on their own terms.  You” find the articles underneath this one on the sidebar to the right.  I’m aiming at adding to them frequently, so come back regularly to learn more.

As an introvert I know things are not always that easy. These articles will address the problems – internal and external – that introverts face.  They will cover common problems (such as fear and shyness).  They will provide an action plan for someone who has never given a presentation before.  And they will guide you step by step towards success – not just in public speaking, but in living a life which you – as an introvert enjoy.  This is not a series of articles about learning how to be an extravert, it is a series of articles about making the most of the skills that you, as an introvert, find the most enjoyable and rewarding – the things you are best at.  And it is a series of articles that show you, with just a little thought and planning, you can use them to win the game the extraverts play, without stressing, tiring, or being untrue to yourself.

Are You And Introvert? – Am I An Introvert?

There seems to be a standard definition of what makes someone an introvert “You are an introvert if socialising drains you of energy, and an extravert (or extrovert) if socialising gives you energy”

The way they test if you are introverted or extroverted tends to be along the lines of asking you if a number of statements like “I have a small group of close friends” are true or false.  The more you answer true, the more of an introvert you are.

This doesn’t work for me.

First off, a confession, hell, a declaration: “I am an introvert”

I am an introvert.  If you give me one of those introvert tests, I score as highly as it is possible to score.  I’m a class A certified introvert.

And yet, on occasion, I am lonely.  I crave company.  the thought of not seeing anyone drives me insane.  Also, I love public speaking – and I hardly ever have stage fright.

Am I an outlier?  Is there a reason those tests don’t work for me?

No.  I’m an introvert.  Its just that the tests are testing behaviours – the ways that many introverts learn to act.  It isn’t testing anything innate about an individuals introversion.  Everyone is different, and I happen to have mastered the art of public speaking – mastered it in a way which takes advantage of all of my learned introvert behaviours.  There is nothing about introversion which means you can’t speak in public!

And when do I find myself lonely?  Its when I’ve had no company for a particularly long time.  When I’m finding myself falling out of my regularly scheduled social engagements because too much of my time is being taken up with something else.

What this means to me is that – on very rare occasions – I can be an extravert.

The question isn’t ‘are you, or are you not an introvert’, the questions are ‘are you an introvert at the moment?  Right now, does the idea of meeting new people fill you with dread or excitement?’ and ‘if you are frequently an introvert, has this affected your behaviour?  Do you frequently act in ways which avoid excessive social interaction to maintain your energy?’

The idea of an introvert is a stereotype.  We think of thin, pale, people who hide away indoors, in libraries, generally away from the fun.  And there are introverts who fit this stereotype – but there are many who do not.  It is like the difference between asking ‘Am I a man’ – a question of something which is a fact and can be examined – and asking ‘Am I manly? Am I masculine’ – a question of whether you fit into a particular cultural sterotype.

There is no shame in being an introvert.  It is merely a statement of how you work best.  Once you know you are an introvert, you can begin to question how to use this knowledge to achieve your potential in an extroverted world.