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Podcast: An Introvert-Friendly Way To Become Better At Public Speaking


You can now listen to the first episode of *The Introverted Speaker Show*, a podcast about public speaking for introverted people.

You know the best way to get good at public speaking (or anything else actually) is to… practice. The more you practice, the better.

The thing is, practicing public speaking is not that easy, as the usual advice given to new speakers, and that I mention in this podcast, is both unpractical and not very introvert-friendly.

But rejoice, for I give you in that episode of The Introverted Speaker Show the best technique for introverts who want to make fast, impressive progress at public speaking without even having to get out of their comfy homes.

Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the very first episode of The Introverted Speaker Show ! I’m glad to have you there. In this show I’m going to talk about topics that interest me, and that interest you too I hope, and by that I mean things related to public speaking and introversion.

And in this first episode, I want to talk about… well, podcasting, and how a podcast can solve many of your own public speaking issues. Yeah, podcasting is a variant of public speaking. I mean, I’m speaking, and you’re listening to me. So, sure, it’s not exactly the same as speaking live, like, in the front of a real audience, because we are not in the same room. Actually we’re probably not even in the same country… And, not only that but, since this show is recorded, while I’m speaking, you’re not listening, and while you’re listening, I’m not speaking.

So, yeah, speaking in public in front of a real audience, made of real human beings, is not the same as podcasting or talking to the radio, but at the same time, they are very close. Unless you’re reading the transcript, you’re not reading words I typed just like when you read my blog or one of my daily emails (and by the way, if you didn’t subscribe yet, just go to www.TheIntrovertedSpeaker.com). You’re not reading my words, you’re listening to my voice. And that’s a bit different. Because orality and litterature, I mean written text, they are not the same at all. They are very different.

When you listen to my voice, you hear, even if it’s not on a conscious level, a ton of non-verbal cues. You can hear that I am French, because I have a very strong French accent. I know that. Don’t lie to me. I can also make pauses, dramatic pauses, I can play with the tone of my voice, that kind of things, and I cannot do any of that in a written text. You cannot see me, you cannot see my body, but you have access to tons of non-verbal cues. If you could see me, it would be even more obvious. But in the written form ? No. Not a chance. There is no non-verbal signal in litterature. That’s why smileys were invented actually. They are a way to cope with the lack of non-verbal communication in written texts. If I’m making a sarcastic comment in this show, you would hear it because I would change subtly change the tone of my voice. But I can’t do that in a text, in a written text, and that’s why I would probably use a smiley.

Anyway, yeah, oral communication is in my opinion, in my not very humble opinion, oral communication is way more interesting than written communication. For that very reason. All those non-verbal cues you have access to. As soon as you start talking. Rather than writing. That’s why I’ve been so excited by storytelling more than a decade ago. And that’s why I became a radio host when I was given the opportunity a few years ago, and that’s why I’m starting this show.

So, you see, written communication and oral communication are very different. And that’s something not everyone understands. That’s why you can hear so many boring speeches. Because unexperienced speakers wrote them. They wrote them, as written texts, and just wrote them as if they were meant to be read. I mean read by the eyes. Not read aloud. And the unexeperienced speaker is giving a very poor experience to his audience, because he does not inject all those non-verbal cues in his speech. He’s just reading. He’s reading written text. With no inflection in his voice. With no passion. And that’s boring. And that’s a terrible experience for both the audience and the speaker.

The thing is, to become good at public speaking, well you must practice. It’s just like with anything. You know, sometimes you can hear about it. Oh, you wanna ba a singer ? You can’t learn that. Either you’re good at it, or you’re not. You wanna learn jazz ? Forget it. Either you were born a jazzman, or you’re not. You wanna become a comedian, or a storyteller, or anything ? That’s not something you can learn. And all that crap.

Well, I don’t think this is true. I think this is just completely wrong, actually. Almost anything can be learned. If you’re bad at something, you can get better. Way better. You can get good at anything if you put in hard work. Now, sure, maybe some people are more gifted than others, and maybe something will take you more time to master than it took to somebody else, and that’s unfair, but that’s it. Life’s unfair anyway, and that’s something you have to accept.

But anyway, no matter how hard or easy it is for you, you have to work. To work a lot. And you have to practice. Theory’s good, theory’s important if you like it, but nothing beats practice.

To become a good public speaker, you must speak in public. Duh.

Now, that’s where things start to get a bit more complicated. Because, to become a great speaker, you need practice. And you need to practice a lot. But how are you going to practice ? I mean, a musician can practice at home. He gets back home, from work, unpacks his instrument, and then he can play for like an hour straight.

But if you want to practice public speaking, you need an audience. You need a room, I mean, a place where you will face a real audience, and that means you need to find a place where you will be able to speak, and an audience who wants to hear from you. And that’s hard to find. Opportunities to speak are hard to find. That’s a challenge I faced when I started storytelling. I had tons of stories to tell, but I needed a place and an audience to tell them to.

And there it depends where you live. I know there are clubs, like toastmasters in the US or UK. I know the typical advice in the US for wanabe public speakers is « get to your closest toastmasters club ». And btw, if you don’t know what toastmasters clubs are, well, they are places, they are clubs that are especially dedicated to people who want to improve at public speaking. People in the audience are there to listen to you, they know you’re a learner, you’re not a top-level speaker, you’re there to improve, and they will even give you feedback at then end. I can only tell you what I’ve heard though, because I never joined such a club.

OK, so toastmasters sounds like a great plan. And if you can join one, please do, because yeah it sounds like a great experience from what I’ve read.

But these kinds of opportunities have several issues, though.

First thing is, well, that’s the most obvious, you don’t necessarily have a club next to you. If you live in a small town, or if you live in a country where such a thing does not exist, you’re out of luck. I mean, I’m in France, and I couldn’t find a toastmasters club, or a local equivalent, to save my life. I don’t know if we have such things at all. So that’s a pretty big drawback, I mean, depending on where you live, that might not be an option at all.

The second issue with toastmasters clubs is that you depends on external factors. If there is only one session every week, for instance, well, you cannot train more than once a week. And you’re not even sure you will be able to speak at that weekly session. Maybe there are too many speakers, and you won’t be able to speak that night. And, maybe that once-a-week session doesn’t fit your own agenda, I mean, maybe at that time you’re at work, or you’re having another activity, so you probably won’t be able to attend all the sessions. And remember, you want to practice as much as possible. As often as possible.

And even if there are tons of sessions available. The third issue with these toastmasters clubs is that the whole setting is not very introvert-friendly. I mean, you must get out of the house at a specific moment, and then you must meet all these people, and you have to socialize, and that will drain a lot of energy. So, if you’re an introvert like me, that’s probably something you want to avoid, or something you want to limit as much as possible.

So, yeah, I mean, you must be wondering, « why does this guy says I must practice a lot and then says that I probably don’t want to do that ? It doesn’t make sense ! » Well, yeah, sure, that seems weird.

But what I mean is, there’s another option. And you’re just listening to it. And that option is… podcasting ! Yeah, podcasting is public speaking. Just like I said at the beginning of the episode, it’s not the same as being live in front of a real audience in a dedicated place, but… It’s still public speaking, and it’s very introvert-friendly:

  • You don’t have to get out of your house.
  • You don’t have to socialise with all these people.
  • You just talk about a topic that you like, for as long as you like, and you have people listening to you, but you don’t have to see them.

Sound like a great deal, right ? And the great thing is, you can do it whenever you want, as often as you want. You can make as many episodes as you want, make them as long as you want, and so on.

Now, what should be the main topic of your podcast ? The good news is, you can talk about anything. Come on, I know there is something you love. Something you would love to talk about, without being interrupted, for minutes and minutes. Whatever that is. Nobody cares. It can be as niched as you want. Even if it’s something almost noone but you on Earth cares about. You’re not doing it to break records, you’re not doing it to be the most influential podcaster ever or something like that.

You don’t even care about having a wide audience. And, quite the opposite in fact. You don’t want to feel pressured. You want to be able to talk about a given topic you deeply researched. About something you master. Without censuring yourself. You just want to practice the art of speaking to an audience. Yes, even an audience that you can’t see.

And I said podcasting, but if for instance you’d rather do a video than just talk into a microphone, just do it. Just start a youtube channel on your pet topic. That’s great ! Or just create a dedicated instagram account, or a dedicated facebook page, and keep publishing on them; that’s easy to do, and in my opinion that’s great practice.

And you don’t need to be very technically proficient to do it. You don’t need a great camera or a great microphone. You can just use your laptop or your smartphone for this. Remember, nobody cares, it’s just practice for you. And if someone loves your show, or your channel, if you get tons of subscribers, that’s great ! But that’s not the goal of that exercise. The goal is to learn to get words out of your mouth. To have you speaking to an audience, for several minutes, about a given topic. And the more you practice, the better. Because once you know you can speak, you will approach your next public speaking event, your next real public speaking event, like a presentation at work, with much more confidence than before. So that’s definitely worth it. So yeah, just do it, and you’ll thank me later.

And that’s it for today, that’s the end of that episode of The Introverted Speaker’s Show. I hope you enjoyed it, don’t forget to subscribe to get the next episodes, and if you want to talk with me about this episode, or if you want to sign up to my free newsletter and get daily e-mail tips about public speaking and introversion, just go to my website www.TheIntrovertedSpeaker.com.

OK, thanks for listenting, see you next time, bye !