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

How Introverts Can Speak Up

It is – for introverts – an unfortunate fact that the world is oriented towards extraverts.  There is no getting away from this.  It is unlikely to change – no matter how hard we wish – if only because the thought of introverts all wanting to gather together in the same place and mount a noisy protest is bordering on the laughable.

Moreover, the world is fundamentally social.  Success – in whatever form – relies on us convincing others to do things for us – even if all we want to convince them to do is leave us alone to be quiet.  As introverts we all have much to offer – we are abuzz with ideas, we think deeper, are able to concentrate harder for longer, and notice details which extraverts consider unimportant.  Introverts are responsible for many of the great works of art, of literature, of science and of technology.  It is no exaggeration to say that without introverts the modern world would be a much different, and far less advanced place.  Nevertheless for an introvert’s ideas to be valued to others, they have to be communicated.

Communication is difficult.  Perhaps the ideal form of communication for an introvert is writing – it is a solitary activity, a creative activity, something that takes time and dedication and relies on all the skills which introverts exhibit in droves.  However, reading is a fundamentally solitary activity – and an activity which introverts enjoy far more than their extrovert brethren.  There are many reasons to write – and indeed writing can change the world.  But if you want to be heard by extroverts – by the majority of people in the world – by the people who can hear your ideas and work together with others to make them happen you have to do something else – you have to speak up.  You have to be heard.

Talking is difficult.  We’ve examined why before – talking is putting yourself into a situation, which for introverts continually raises their sense of danger.  things in conversations are unpredictable.  You never know what people are going to say, or when they’ll say it.  There is little or no time to prepare answers, as talking requires quick, often unconsidered responses.  And for many introverts, because socialising has these problems, there has been no incentive to learn these skills – less time has been spent in conversation.  So even an introvert who is prepared to put himself in the situation and go with the blows is likely to be a less able performer than an extrovert.

We introverts need a different approach

This is where public speaking comes in.  At first it may seem to be an abhorrent idea to the introvert – lets take something you don’t like, talking, and put you on display doing it in front of a large crowd.  But as this book aims to show, public speaking will play to all your strengths as an introvert – it will make you look like a socially skilled extrovert (which is important to establish status in the extravert world), it will let you communicate your ideas, and it will establish you not just as a great thinker, but as a thought leader.

Moreover, public speaking is a skill.  It can be learned.  And most people are so unskilled at public speaking, that with only a little knowledge – just the contents of this series of articles – and a little practice, you will be a better speaker than most of your colleagues.  By comparison with your peers your presentations – and your ideas – will outshine the others.