Do you look forward to speaking in front of an audience?

If you are an introvert then you are likely to find public speaking a challenge. At the January Women in Business meeting Aly Harrold shared strategies and some easy tips to help you boost your confidence.

How do you know if you are an introvert?

Take this quick quiz (thanare you an introvert?ks to Susan Cain) and find out whether you are an introvert, extrovert or an ambivert (somewhere in the middle).

Susan Cain has written several books and done a great TED talk on being an introvert.

Famous introverts

Lady Gaga introvertYou may not think it, but Lady GaGa is an introvert. She puts on an act with her performances and needs to be motivated. Read more in an interview with her here.

It’s all to do with where you get your energy from. If you feel energized in a group of people you are an extrovert, if you feel happiest on your own, you are likely to be an introvert.

Personally, I am an ambivert/introvert where I am happy to talk in front of groups of people but I need solitude and quiet around me afterwards to regroup and build up my energy again.

Tom Hanks is another introvert. There are other famous introverts here.

Your voice

The most important thing when speaking, and the most obvious when you think about it, is to use your voice effectively. If people cannot hear you then your message is not being received.

Did you know you are capable of over 335 different tones in your voice? So in Aly’s words “Let it dance!”

Remember to smile as your voice sounds different (try this for yourself, read a paragraph normally and then read it again with a smile and you will hear the difference).

Strengths of the introvert

As an introvert you have lots of strengths that a more extrovert person may be missing.

Introverts tend to be:

  • Great wordsmiths
  • Good with details and focus
  • Well prepared
  • Imaginative
  • Interesting and creative
  • Goal orientated
  • A good listener

Guidelines to help you

  • Be yourself – you are an enlightener and an educator
  • Serve the audience (it’s not about you, it’s about helping them)
  • Accept and understand your nerves
  • Allow time for preparation
  • Use cards with bullet points to remind you of what you are going to talk about. Don’t try to memorise it
  • Build your talk in chunks and go back to it to refine it.
  • Slow down, pause and allow people time to process what you say
  • Allow yourself recover time after the presentation/talk (quiet time to rebuild your energies)

Remember the audience want you to succeed and they are interested in what you have to share with them.

Tips to help calm your body

  • Try alternate nostril breathing, put your finger over one nostril and breathe in through the other, swap your finger over and breathe out through the other nostril and breathe in again, then swap your finger and repeat with the other nostril. This helps balance the left and right sides of the brain.
  • Shake your hands until they tingle.
  • Do the wonder woman pose and stand with your hands on your hips for 2 minutes before you do your talk.
  • Set yourself up for success: do visualisations, breathing exercises and say affirmations early on in the day you are due to your talk.
  • Use Rescue Remedy, Bach Flower Essences or homeopathic remedies (see below) to calm you.
    • Aconitum napellus – for anxiety panic attacks.
    • Argentum nitricum – for anxiety dizziness.
    • Arsenicum album – for hypochondriacs, anxiety fear of losing control.
    • Gelsemium – for anxiety chills and hot flushes.
    • Natrum muriaticum – for anxiety chest pains.

And Finally…

And for anyone who’s curious about the results of the quiz. We all did it during the meeting and had 2 definite extroverts, 2 definite introverts and 11 ambiverts (both Aly and I are ambiverts) mostly on the more introverted side of the scale. How did you do? Please share in the comments below…

If you are interested in boosting your public speaking skills, Aly Harrold can coach you to confidence. More details on the one to one and group training available at 


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