One of the most important career-building and leadership skills you can learn is to speak effectively to an audience. I dedicated a chapter of my book, Self-Promotion for Introverts®, to this topic, based on work with my coaching clients over more than a decade as well as continuing education students in my Presentation Skills for Introverts™ workshop at New York University.

While I was writing my book, I asked Warren Buffett how introverts could raise their visibility in their careers. He stressed the importance of learning to speak to an audience. Buffett, an introvert who was terrified of public speaking as a young man, shared that he “got physically ill even thinking about speaking.” If that describes you, too, help is available. Buffett took a Dale Carnegie class. Alternatively, you could take a continuing education class in public speaking or presentation skills, hire a public speaking coach and/or join Toastmasters International. Voice lessons can help too.

No matter the butterflies fluttering in your stomach, you probably don't look as nervous as you think. Studies have shown that your emotions are not as visible as you would expect. If you would like to build your skill and confidence at public speaking, check out the following resources which will show you how to use your introverted strengths (e.g., thoroughly researching your topic, listening attentively to your audiences, thinking before your speak rather than shooting from the hip) as a springboard.

Public Speaking for Private People
“Cool Tool for Public Speakers
“Becoming a ‘Go-to’ Expert with Public Speaking
“What Every Entrepreneur Needs to Know About Public Speaking”
“Presentation Skills for Introverts: Tiger and the Full Tilt Boogie”
“Public Speaking for Introverts: Jonesing for the Zone”
“Presentation Tips for Introverts”
“Presenting to Clients: To Know Them is to Wow Them”
“How to Find Your Inner Cary Grant”

The Importance of Public Speaking”
Managing Your Fear of Public Speaking
Public Speaking for Introverts

Of course, reading and watching videos about public speaking are just a start. The next thing to do is get up and practice—particularly in front of an audience. If you feel your knees knocking, start with a baby step. The important thing is to get started.

Here's to a New Year with your quiet voice commanding the stage—a smart and efficient use of your introverted energy!

Copyright © 2012 Nancy Ancowitz

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