The art of speaking in front of the public doesn’t come in a single day. Some people have a fear of public speaking. And if you’re an introvert, you are afraid of speaking, regardless of the occasion. However, there are examples of introverted leaders who managed to cope with this fear, learned how to put their thoughts together, and give convincing and inspiring speeches.
King George VI was one of the most notable introverts in history. When his brother abdicated the throne, the new king, who also had a speech impediment, had to learn the art of public speaking practically overnight. His inspiring journey was made into a movie, The King’s Speech starring Colin Firth.
You’d be surprised how many leaders have to push through their natural shyness to become natural speakers. Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Warren Buffet were not born outstanding speakers and had to pave their way and learn how to speak their minds.
So, if you are an introvert and usually have a hard time speaking up, this article will help you learn how to practice the art of speaking and make it one of your strongest qualities.
How to practice the art of speaking:
1. Understand the Roots of Your Fear
When you’re put on the spot as an introvert, it’s hard to make yourself speak confidently. You let the fear take over your brain, and the conversation turns into a nightmare. But if you want to conquer this fear, you need to look at it objectively and analyze where it’s coming from.
Dr. Marti Olsen, the author of The Introvert Advantage, says that the reasons for fear of speaking up come from the distinctive characteristics of the introvert’s brain. For example, introverts are more prone to use long-term memory that retains information for a long period of time. That’s why it takes introverts longer to extract information and speak out right away.
Another reason that Dr. Olsen lists is that introverts’ brains are more prone to social anxiety, making it harder to process information and even be mentally draining.
Knowing how your brain functions can help you be more aware of what obstructs you from speaking your mind. And, as you grow increasingly aware of the objective reasons behind your fear of public speaking, it will get easier for you to get rid of it.
2. Practice Writing Down Your Thoughts
In her book, Dr. Marti Olsen also mentions that writing is easier for introverts than speaking. So, why not take advantage of that and use your natural proneness to writing to become a better speaker?
It has been proven that journaling can help significantly reduce anxiety, as it:
- allows you to put your thoughts in perspective and objectively evaluate them
- enables you to prioritize your concerns and deal with them better
- provides an opportunity for a positive self-talk
The beauty of journaling is that it can take any form. You can write down stories or use bullet lists to enumerate your concerns. But, if you want to use journaling to help you speak your mind more confidently, you need to follow these simple rules:
- Investigate different sides of one problem. Open-mindedness is a quality of a good speaker. To practice it, try to describe one problem from different sides. It will help you understand this problem better, become a good conversationalist, and accept other people’s opinions.
- Follow a structure. To keep track of your thoughts, write them down in a logical order. You can follow the usual introduction-body-conclusion structure and be mindful of the flow.
- Revisit your journal entries. If you want journaling to deliver the results you expect, you need to revisit your entries regularly. That’s why structuring your thoughts when writing is essential, as it helps you follow the train of thought.
Once you get used to expressing your thoughts on paper, you can start doing the same in public. To ease your way into it is to give a journal entry for a quick read to someone you trust. You can then discuss the ideas and thoughts you’ve expressed there, and you can practice following the same pattern but while speaking.
3. Do Some Stress Management before Speaking
Now, as you feel ready to speak your mind, the fear that inhibited you before may come back and hit you even more than before. That’s why, before you start talking, you need to do some stress management to calm yourself down and put your thoughts in order.
While unwinding techniques are all individual, there are some exercises you can take advantage of to help you reduce stress. Let’s take a look at them:
- Reflect before speaking. If we’re talking about speaking at a public event, you can take some time before your speech to go through the main points and rehearse them. It’s better to do it in a quiet corner where no one can bother you.
- Practice slow breathing. When the fear takes over your head, and your heart starts racing, you can calm yourself by doing simple breathing exercises. You can learn these exercises from YouTube videos, see, which ones work for you, and use them if you feel anxious before speaking.
- Stand in a confident posture. When you’re stressed, you will also find that your posture reveals your lack of confidence. You can reverse that effect by standing in a confident posture, with your chin up and back straight. It also helps if you bring your hands upward and stand like that for several seconds while breathing steadily.
- Focus on the subject, not the audience. If you are having a hard time getting your point across, don’t worry about who you’re talking to, but rather think about the subject you’re covering. Refocusing your brain will also activate long-term memory and help you substantiate your points.
- Visualize your success. Seeing is believing, and psychologists say that even if you imagine yourself a better speaker, you’re already halfway to success. So, before you give a speech, try visualizing a successful outcome. You will notice how your fear alleviates, you get more confident, your posture improves, your head is calm, and your thoughts are in order.
On top of the above-mentioned tips, you need to know what you will be talking about. If you have an opportunity, try to learn as much information on the subject as possible. And, if you know that you lack knowledge, don’t be afraid to acknowledge it. Remember that nobody is perfect, but you always get a chance to improve.
So The Key to Becoming an Excellent Speaker is……..
You can’t deny the truth behind this statement. Even the most introverted person in the world can become a great speaker if they are dedicated to regular practice. However, while you practice, you may encounter some obstacles along the way, such as fear, lack of confidence, anxiety, and stress. So, it’s important to have a fear and stress management toolkit to help you cope with these hurdles.
Hopefully, the insights shared with you in this article will help you turn your natural shyness into confidence and become a fearless speaker who knows how to make themselves heard.
Daniela McVicker is a psychologist, family counselor, and editor at Essaysupply. She is also a freelance writer and editor. Her passion is writing about leading a healthy family life and helping people enjoy their lives to the fullest.
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