Can You be Shy and a Good Public Speaker?

Many people growing up shy see public speaking as something they can never achieve in. This is simply a myth.  Breaking from that shell of shyness and being an introvert into an outspoken, extrovert helps in becoming a well spoken public speaker.  But even if one never breaks that shell becoming an exceptional public speaker is still an achievable goal!  How is that possible?  Just a few simple steps.

Take a class

The reason why taking a class is the most important step is simple, practice, practice, practice.  Taking a class forces you to learn how to develop a speech, practice it, and then deliver it.  There is that word again, practice.  Practice, practice, practice, practice.  Jeez I am starting to sound like Allen Iverson!

Test runs

Grab your roommate, grab your family, or even grab your pet because delivering your speech in front of someone before delivering the actual speech is a way to become familiar with wording and how you want to phrase certain messages.  Being able to speak in front of a one person or a hand full is a perfect way to lower stress and nervousness.  Once you nail that and become familiar with exactly what you want to delver in your speech, getting up in front of a crowd gets much easier.

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Dress the part

Confidence is key.  In sports, players believe that if they look nice, they play nice.  Same goes for public speaking.  If you dress in your Sunday best, the crowd will notice that and see it as a form of confidence.  It is mostly not about the crowd though.  When you know you look nice, you walk with a little more confidence.  Standing in front of a crowd looking your best in a confidence booster needed to deliver the speech.

Be hydrated

This may seem a little silly, but hear me out.  A sign of nervousness is sweating and a dry mouth.  How are you supposed to look good when sweating and give a clear, powerful speech with a dry mouth?  Keeping hydrated will help with both the sweating and dry mouth aspect of feeling nervous.  Just in case your mouth still gets dry, bring a water bottle with you when speaking.  It is not frowned upon to take five seconds and get a swig of water, it’s human nature!

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Record previous speeches

As in anything you do, improving only occurs when you fix the mistakes.  Recording your speech will allow you to review what you did well and what you did wrong.  You can see your nervous habits, your body language, or simply anything that held your speech back.  Being able to watch and practice fixing these mistakes is a great way to grow as a speaker.

Engage eye contact and bring energy

Making eye contact for someone who is shy may be a challenge, but it is a way to make sure the audience is engaged.  Even if you are not the best speaker, constant eye contact improves the audience’s attention to what you have to say.  This simple step with improve your speech, even though it has nothing to do with the actual words being said.  Also, bringing energy and an upbeat mood will immediately grab the audience’s attention.  Once you have the attention of the audience and have them engaged, you will relax and the words will flow more freely.

Do not ever believe that being shy will stop you from becoming a great professional speaker.  Take these tips into consideration and try them out.  It will not hurt; it will only help!

This blog post was written by PRowl Account Associate Andrew DeVito. 

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