If you were to list out the characteristics that most of us believe that a really good speaker must have in order to communicate the importance of public speaking, what would be on your list? I can only speak for myself, but I believe that I would have on my list that they would need to be an extrovert – an outgoing person who is always giving off lots of energy. You need this in order to connect with your audience, right? I’d be wrong. It turns out that introverts, those people who are more inwardly focused and less outwardly focused, can make really great speakers. Let’s find out why…
The Ability To Listen
In this context I sorta hate to admit this, but I believe that I am most defiantly an extrovert. What this means is that I really like to talk. Sometimes this is not a good thing – I tend to talk over people and don’t take enough time to listen to what they have to say. Introverts have a special skill – they happen to be very good listeners.
What this means is that when they are preparing to give a speech, they can use their listening skills to create a better speech. As they gather the information that they’ll need to create their speech, introverts take the time to listen to differences in opinion. This allows them to find the best solution, even if it turns out to be one that they didn’t suggest themselves.
For an introvert, it’s not all about listening. Instead, listening is where it starts. Once they’ve heard what someone has to say, an introvert will take this information and analyze it. They’ll consider all of the facts as they process what they’ve been told. The end result of this will be a well-thought out set of ideas that can be worked into their next speech.
Good At Sharing Both Ideas And Successes
Introverts are also very good at sharing both success and praise and this allows the audience to feel like they have been included in the speech. It’s not all about the speaker and this is what opens the door for the audience to feel as though the speaker is revealing things that they have learned to them instead of telling them things that they should already know.
What makes introverts especially good at collecting the information that they’ll need is that they don’t often feel threatened. They don’t feel threatened if their ideas are not the ones that the group decides to use and they are not threatened by high performers who may take up a lot of the conversation.
Introverts are able to move beyond themselves and instead focus on the issue that they’ll be building their speech around. Introverts are able to spend their time thinking about what their audience wants to accomplish. They don’t get hung up on the process that is going to be required in order to get there.
Willing To Take The Time Needed To Think
All too often we can find ourselves rushed to reach conclusions. These are the conclusions that then find their way into our speech that we then share with our audience. Introvert speakers don’t have this problem. They take their time and they think about what is going to go into their speech.
All too often, when we are collecting information for a speech we can be swayed by the person that we talk to who dominates a group discussion. An introvert has the ability to overcome this issue. They’ll take what they’ve heard and then they’ll take the time to sift through all of it in order to find out what it really means.
Introverts need an opportunity to go to a quiet place where they can ponder what they have been told. This allows them to both create solutions out of the information that they have gathered and to recharge themselves. It’s this kind of internal balance that will allow a great speech to be created.
What All Of This Means For You
Public speaking is the process of one person opening up and sharing their speech with an audience. We view this process as being the very definition of being an extrovert and so we assume that only extroverts would be any good at sharing the benefits of public speaking. However, it turns out that introverts have a number of key characteristics that make them very good at giving speeches.
Introverts possess the ability to do a good job of listening. Because introverts take the time to both listen and then think about what they’ve heard, the speeches that they deliver often talk directly to the issues that the audience is dealing with. When creating a speech, the introverted speaker collects ideas and successes from those around him or her. This means that their speech is about the issue and not them. Finally, creating a great speech takes time. Extroverts spend a lot of time thinking about how they’ll deliver the speech. Introverts spend their time thinking about what they’ll deliver.
In this world, it takes all types of people in order to give good speeches. Extroverts are often passed over when picking someone to give a speech. Perhaps we should not do this. Introverts have the ability to create a unique type of speech that can really connect with an audience.
Dr. Jim Anderson
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