Self Improvement: The Introvert’s Guide to Becoming a Better Public Speaker
“According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death… That means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than giving the eulogy!”
People are always asking me for advice on topics like affiliate marketing, productivity, and building a team.
But as of late I’ve been getting a ton of questions on how to become a better public speaker.
Most of you are probably like me – naturally introverted. As because of that, we aren’t really born with public speaking ability.
To be honest… I never thought I’d find myself in this position.
When I was younger, I was scared shitless of giving speeches.
I remember having to give a speech in front of my high school class.
I literally pretended to be sick for 5 days in a row so I could avoid giving the speech.
The Seinfeld quote above really says it all.
I was so scared of speaking, it was like a threat to my physical safety.
- I’ve spoken in front of crowds of thousands of people more times than I can count.
- Event organizers are always asking me to speak at their events for 5 figure sums.
- My Super Affiliate Intensive workshops features me speaking / teaching for 8 hours per day
But even if you aren’t planning on being a professional speaker, the skillset will pay dividends.
- What if you need to give a speech at your best friend’s wedding?
- What if you need to make a “pitch” or a business presentation?
It’s better to be prepared than to be caught with your pants down. And these skills carry over into other areas of life. Because I developed my public speaking skills, I’m able to easily go on Camera.
And these skills carry over into other areas of life. Because I developed my public speaking skills, I’m able to easily go on camera.
It’s the confident, well-spoken people who get ahead in all areas of life. Business, promotions, networking, deal making, girls, new friends, creating a brand etc.
No matter what niche or industry you’re in, it pays to sharpen your speaking chops.
Here are some of the easiest tips to implement (you can get started with some of these right now with zero prep time).
#1 Speak twice as slow, and twice as loud.
Words are the least important aspect of speaking.
Doesn’t that sound weird?
But when you think about it, it makes complete sense.
When you listen to a speech, two of your senses are being bombarded with input: sight and sound. The introvert public speaker’s voice and body language are speaking directly to your inner “lizard brain,” which tells you what to pay attention to. The words don’t register until you start to think, which takes work.
Basically, people are lazy. So when you speak, you want to make it easy for them to pay attention. The easiest way is to do this is to speak louder. Loud noise commands attention – even our pets know that.
The second way is to speak more slowly. This one is a little more complex. Basically, it takes more work to process fast speech than slow speech.
When you speak slowly, you’re telling people: “it’s really easy to pay attention to me.”
That way people don’t struggle to understand what you say.
So when you speak, aim for twice as slow and twice as loud. Don’t over complicate it. There’s no need to run out and buy fancy equipment for measuring volumes or anything.
Most people are nervous on stage and speak super fast. When you slow things down it makes you look confident.
Here’s what to do:
- Record yourself speaking a few sentences,
- Listen to the recordings,
- Listen for any weird things that you do that you can work on removing.
Then make a mental note to
A). Slow it down, and
B). Turn it up
Every time you catch yourself talking, try to remember to slow it down and increase the volume, but not so that you shout.
One last tip: “project” your voice further, don’t yell. Here’s a good resource to learn how to do this.
#2 Use Snapchat to practice body language.
Snapchat is an amazing tool for practicing your body language.
The reason is, it FORCES you to look at yourself. You can’t send a snap without first taking a picture of yourself. And you need to look at it for at least a second before sending. So when you use it, you’ll start to notice things about your appearance and body language you missed before.
So use Snapchat (assuming you’re not already a power user like me). It’s like training yourself to practice body language without knowing it.
Send snaps to your individual friends, then as your confidence builds you can upload snaps to your story.
Btw, if you want some daily Ngo bombs and life tips, my username is charles_ngo on Snapchat.
#3 Before you speak, walk around the room, shake hands and talk to people.
People are attracted to confidence. It’s one of the things that defines a leader. When you speak confidently, it communicates that you’re someone they can trust. And in business, trust is everything.
One of the easiest ways to speak confidently is to speak to a familiar audience.
“But Charles! I DON’T know all these people I’m speaking in front of.”
… Not now.
But you can easily GET to know them. Listen, I’ve been to a lot of conferences. And I can tell you, speeches are NEVER the first thing to happen. Before speeches, come the whole meet and greet/mingling thing.
And here’s where you can get down to business.
Use every minute of ‘mingling’ before you speak to talk to people. Approach them. Ask what they do for a living. Shake their hand. Exchange business cards.
Then when you’re on stage, it’s in front of a group of people you already know. That’s a lot easier than talking to strangers.
#4 Practice, practice, practice.
For any speaking engagement, I’ll practice my speech a minimum of 10 times.
I never forget my material, and on rare occasions that I forget a small thing, I can easily improvise.
Practicing your speech 10 times might sound tough, but it’s beyond worth it.
You can do it anywhere. In the shower, in the car, while you’re taking a break from work etc.
Think about the potential ROI of a perfectly-delivered speech…
If you crush it up there, you’re on easy street. Everyone will be congratulating you and wishing they could do it too.
Without spending a cent, you’ve got 1-2 hours in the spotlight from a massive audience.
And if you want to be a professional speaker?
When you ace a public speech, other people in the room will notice. Some of them might have an event of their own coming up. And just like that, because you practiced and aced your speech, you’ve got a new gig.
Practicing your speech 10 times is a lot of work. But it’s totally worth the effort. In fact, it’s a classic example of the pareto principle; a ‘little thing’ that gives outsized results.
Btw, for my first speech, I practiced it about 50 times. When I was up on stage I was so glad I did. I completely aced it, and it led to more business opportunities than I can count.
#5 Record yourself speaking
If you want to speak twice as slow and twice as loud as you do now, you need to know what you sound like before you try to improve.
You’re going to be practicing your speech 10 times, anyway.
It will feel awkward at the start.
Nobody likes hearing their own voice.
But it’s just part of the process. You’ll notice a ton of weird things you do too like swallowing, sniffing loudly, blending words, etc. that you can work on removing from your speech.
This is good practice to become a more confident speaker (even if you’re currently an introvert public speaker).
#6 Look for friendly faces in the crowd.
I was at a Tony Robbins event a while back.
One of the things that struck me was how personal it was. He was constantly singling out people from the audience, asking them questions, making light-hearted jokes at their expense.
And he remembered their names.
You might have noticed speakers do this before.
They’ll personalize things by “picking on” some audience members.
Why do they do this?
Because it’s engaging. It can provide comedic relief. It entertains the audience.
(And secretly everyone else is happy the speaker isn’t picking on them lol)
But it also has a benefit for the speaker: it makes them feel like they’re talking to people, not “a crowd.”
There’s something intimidating about a crowd. They’re big, and as the speaker, you can feel small. If you see the audience this way, you’ll never totally overcome that nagging anxiety they call ‘stage fright.’
So, personalize it. Scan the room. Look for people who are nodding and smiling. Ask them questions. Mention them by name. If you met other attendees before you spoke, mention one them, and tell the audience about something they said that fascinated you.
It’s even better if some of your friends are in the audience and you can call them out and embarrass them 🙂
#7 Get “in state” before going on stage
I think about 90% of ‘stage fright’ advice sucks.
Ever heard that “picture the audience naked” thing to help reduce anxiety?
I’m not a fan of that (partly because most affiliate events are 95% geeky guys).
I’m not saying that these tactics will NEVER work. If picturing the audience naked works for you, by all means, do it.
But this type of advice just kinda misses the big picture.
Instead I recommend hyping yourself up about giving the speech so much, that it overrides the fear completely.
Do everything humanly possible to be enthusiastic before you speak.
- Listen to motivational videos.
- Read your favorite book on a topic related to the speech.
- ‘Work the room’ by having conversations with everyone there.
- Do visualization exercises to imagine the feeling of accomplishment once you’ve nailed it.
- Play your favorite music and jump around the room, thinking about all the times you’ve kicked ass at something difficult before.
Eventually, you’ll hit what NLP experts call ‘state.’
You’ll crush it playboy.
#8 Use humour and stories, even for the introvert public speaker
People love humour and personal stories. There’s a reason that comedies and love stories rake in box office quadrillions, while science documentaries made by teams of PhDs rarely crack 100,000 views.
Work jokes and stories into what you’re already doing – even if it’s a serious topic.
This is a massive topic in itself. I can’t really do it justice here. What I will do is point you in the right direction.
A great book on humor is “The Comic’s Toolbox: How to be Funny even if You’re Not” by John Vorhaus. Unlike most books about comedy, this one focuses on jokes, not the profession of standup. So it’s more relevant if you just want to learn about humor.
For storytelling, I’d recommend Stephen King’s “On Writing.” This book has enough good advice on storytelling to fill a library. So just buy it. You’ll thank me later.
#9 If you’re using slides, DON’T cram them full of words.
If you have slides packed with text, one of two things happens:
- People will either read your slides and not listen to you, or
- People will not read your slides and listen to you.
Either way, it’s a waste of time having walls of text in your slides.
Instead, use slides to play up “big picture” stuff in your speech.
- Define new words.
- Mark turning points.
- Point out ‘takeaway points.’
- Funny images/jokes/memes
I know you don’t have the same budget as Google, but look at this slide deck their Executive Chairman used for a presentation.
It’s minimal, has a couple of illustrations, and a few sentences at most on each slide.
#10 Trim the fat: always leave the audience wanting more.
Don’t give everything away.
This makes space for people to ask you questions. And when people are asking you questions, you’ve started a conversation. And when you’ve got a conversation, you’ve got a lead.
“How exactly do you trim the fat?”
Research your topic inside and out, so you know what you can cut. Don’t elaborate on every point until you’ve sucked all the air out of it.
Just state a point, explain it for 30 seconds, tell a joke/story relating to it, then move on to the next point.
Tell people at the start “If you have questions, you can ask ‘em at the end, just make sure you note them down”.
If nobody has questions, you can go back over the main 2-3 topics you covered and ask if anyone had questions about something specific.
Even If You’re Never Gonna Be Zig Ziglar…
The bottom line is this:
Public speaking pays. And I don’t JUST means in terms of confidence.
Where public speaking really pays off is by generating new traffic, leads and sales for your business. It’s almost like a “shortcut” to bigger profits. And if you get really good at it, it can be a six-seven figure career all its own.
Where you go with public speaking is ultimately up to you.
It’s had a huge impact on my life and I wouldn’t be where I am if I didn’t learn this skill.
Books:Cashvertising On Writing The Comic’s Toolbox: How to be Funny even if You’re Not