Part 1 of 2

I find this a fascinating question. After all, I am an introvert who seeks out opportunities to speak because I enjoy it.

So, in short, the answer is “Yes we can”. However, I want to break this down to understand the question and the potential journey for someone who’s finding this a challenge.

Are you an introvert or are you shy?

An introvert is someone who gets their energy from time alone, whereas an extrovert is someone who is energised by being around people. In conversation, people often say introvert when they mean shy so the question might be “Can a shy person become a confident speaker?”. The answer is still yes, but how the steps they take to get there may be different.

Shyness is being nervous or timid around people. There are lots of reasons why some people are shy, but it is possible to overcome. Being an introvert or extrovert shouldn’t hold us back provided we understand how to manage our energy levels.

Because most people are asking if a shy person can become a confident speaker I’m going to answer that in this article and follow up with a reply to the original question in my next.

Managing shyness

If your challenge is shyness it’s worth acknowledging that there are many shy singers and actors. Some avoid chat shows or are visibly awkward in them because of it. Some suffer huge stage fright, but they all agree that when performing they know they are in the right place, doing what they excel at and are appreciated for.

Most of us find that there are things we do, and certain situations we face when we are either super confident or super driven, or both. It’s then that our shyness becomes less prominent in our heads. If you are shy then use these three steps to make the stage a place of confidence for you. 

Becoming a speaker when you are shy

🌼Connect with your passion

Focus on your passion for the message you want to deliver.  For example, if you believe that your service will make a major difference in your customer’s life keep that at the forefront of your mind.  Feeling the urgency and importance of what you’re saying makes it’s much easier to say.

🌼Find a place to learn

Find a way to work on your public speaking skills with supportive people. If you are struggling with shyness, the just-do-it method in the wrong place can be more damaging than good. I’ve seen too many people fall at the first hurdle when they are working against bad bosses and toxic work environments. Even the most friendly audience may not be helpful if you think they’re just being kind. Instead, seek out a coach, speaking program or group that you feel safe with. The right environment will help you become competent and confident in your speaking ability. Knowing you have the skills will help you feel ready and eager to put things into practice.

🌼Build your confidence toolbox

Use confidence-building and anxiety-relieving techniques to help manage the feelings you’re bound to encounter.  Affirmations, journalling, exercise and grounding techniques are just some of the tools out there. Start exploring options and build a toolbox that works for you. When you know you can manage those feelings and negative self-talk as they arise then you’ll find it easier to go into the situations where they might occur. 

Final thought: shy people make excellent speakers

Shy people often focus on the skill of creating and delivering a speech or presentation because this is how they get the confidence to do it. This in turn becomes their strength. We’ve all seen the confident speaker who blags it, taking to the stage to talk for hours without saying anything; a well-prepared shy person is more likely to deliver a delightfully concise speech, clear and to the point. Blagging is rarely the friend of the shy.

Franklin D Roosevelt once said “Be sincere, be brief, be seated.” and I wish more would. When they are, well, perhaps they’re just shy.

Follow this blog for the second part of the question of whether introverts can be public speakers

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