As I’ve mentioned more than once, I’m a big fan of TED.com as a source for public speaking inspiration. I’ve watched dozens of videos on the site, but today I have a new favorite. Susan Cain’s “The Power of Introverts” talk is impressive for all the traditional reasons: She’s poised, confident and articulate. She connects with the audience. Her presentation is well-organized and easy to follow.
But the main reason I am sharing the video here on the American Speaker Blog is because I know that many people who suffer from glossophobia (fear of public speaking) are introverts. And if you’re an introvert who struggles with public speaking, this truly is a can’t-miss talk:
In the speech, Cain mentions introverted leaders who appealed to their followers—at least in part—because they took on leadership roles despite a natural aversion to the spotlight. People like Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks and Gandhi. Their genuineness was apparent and drew people to their messages.
The same is true for introverted speakers. Public speaking is an act of leadership, after all. If you’re an introvert who feels uncomfortable on stage, don’t fret: Think of that discomfort as an asset. Your audience will recognize and appreciate that you’re not presenting because you love to hear your own voice, but rather because your message is important enough to lure you out of your comfort zone.
That was certainly true for Cain. As she says in her talk, public speaking does not come naturally to her. And yet, according to TED’s owner Chris Anderson, her talk “smashed” the site’s records for number of views in the first week.
What tips do you have for introverted speakers?