Introverts In The Workplace: How To Master The Art Of Presentations In The Workplace
Sometime in the past, I wrote an article on how introverts and extroverts can work together and how managers and business managers can handle introverts and extroverts in the workplace. Today, I want to talk about ways to master the art of presentations in the workplace by introverts.
If you notice, I only talked about introverts. If you are an extrovert I beg you not become jealous. The reason for concentrating on introverts is that extroverts excel in presentations. It is about their hobby so the only need to talk about the right things because how they will present normally don’t present many issues.
But we cannot say the same for introverts who despite having the best of ideas find it difficult to articulate them in the presence of others. The introverts are those people that are defined as reticent and shy people. They tend to avoid publicity and their energy is drawn from solitude and environments that are minimally stimulating.
Okay, the people that are in this category are the people that are of concern to us today. I think at a point I was one of them. Today, I know that everybody can master the art of presentations in the workplace irrespective of your temperament.
I can share my experience growing up but I will make it short in order not to bore you with details that may not make much sense because it was a long time ago. I was in JSS2 and about 12 years old. I was one of the shyest persons in the world. I was terribly introverted and it was almost to a fault.
It happened that I was to preach to the whole students in the chapel. I had the most terrible experience of my life. It was quite short and I felt like I was going to sink. I knew what I was going to say but I didn’t know how to stand the crowd. If it was a written message, I would have excelled. I made the decision after that event to become better at standing the public. I went on to become the chapel captain where I could address the whole staff and students every three days for almost 1 year.
If you are introverted like me, you can actually master the art of presentations in the workplace. All you need to do is try and reading this article is one of the ways to do that.
Tips On How Introverts Master The Art Of Presentations In The Workplace
Work on your perspective about networking and presentations
There is this saying that everything we achieve in this world is based on perspective. I once had a friend who subscribed to the saying that there is nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so. While this might not be true, it goes a long way to show you how thinking affects our output. The person who wins is usually the person who thinks that he can win.
You need the right perspective to be able to overcome the barriers of being introverted. It is as simple as that. Why do you shy away from presentations and networking? Do you think it is more productive to stay away from the crowd in the capacity you are working in your office? You need something better to work on. You need extra motivation and that will come from how you prioritize the need to give presentations.
Robert Dixon stated the four ways to change your perspective and I think it is worth trying. They include
- Accepting that you are uncomfortable.
- Recognizing that you have something of importance and value for the audience. They are eager to hear from you.
- The audience wants you to be successful, [so] think of them as friends.
- Stop thinking about it as a presentation. Instead, think about it as telling a story.
2. A quiet home base will do you some good
Like I said before, it is all in your head. For an introvert to master the art of presentations in the workplace or to network in the midst of people, he or she has to create a resemblance of a quiet home base. It will definitely aid you. remember, in most cases, the environment is always chaotic but you can claim a quiet spot for yourself.
There are ways you can do this but according to Nahamani YisraEl, “One tactic is to leave a book or briefcase in your safe space so that others can see that you have claimed this space for your own. In the event there aren’t any such spaces you can use for this purpose, there is always the option to go to the restroom or step outside to catch your breath.”
It will be a lie to tell you that your emotions won’t pop up once in a while. I still get jitters today but you cannot let it get into the way of your success.
You can learn public speaking skills
This is about the advantage the introvert has over the extrovert if he or she wants to master the art of presentations. Why would I say this? Here is why.
Introverts excel at learning new skills. If they think of public speaking as a skill that has to be learned, they will do exactly that. There are so many materials out there for learning public speaking or presentations or networking so you did have to take time to work on yourself.
It is clear that there are gifts but skills are things anybody can learn with the right motivation and attitude. Just imagine the things you excel in today and think of how naïve and clumsy you were when you started the process of learning those skills and you will be motivated knowing that you can do it. You only need to persevere and as I told you earlier, you have to believe that you can.
Connelly Hayward made it clearer. He said that “Presenting and speaking are skill sets, not necessarily innate abilities as many people falsely believe. Being an extrovert or introvert is not the cause of whether someone is a great presenter. Anyone can be an effective presenter or speaker if they are willing to learn the skills. Skills are learnable. Thinking about something as a skill set allows the mind to believe it can learn how to do that thing.”
Practice makes perfect
It is unarguable that if you will master the art of presentations in the workplace, you must, as a matter of fact, practice. You must make out time to get acquainted with the process. With time you will realize that it is attainable and you will be happy about it.
Start little by practicing in private. After that, you will have to get a little audience and then you can handle a large crowd. In your practices, you must innovative and creative and you will make the best of the situation. You will make mistakes and you will learn and you will grow.
Hayward analyzed this point by stating that you have to “Practice in private with a camera. Capture the moments through video cameras.. As you watch the playback, look for the skills you’ve learned, and notice what doesn’t work. Using video allows you to become familiar with yourself presenting and speaking. This helps reduce the energy expenditure introverts experience when presenting. Familiarity reduces anxiety and unknowns, both of which drain energy. Familiarity increases self-confidence, which feeds our energy level.”
Don’t forget the “illusion of transparency”
Every public speaker specialist will mention the illusion of transparency to you. It is a fact and that will have to stick to your head. You must remember this illusion as that helps in building your self-confidence and helps you master the art of presentations in the workplace.
But hold on; do you know what the illusion of transparency is? Well, here is the deal; it is that form of cognitive bias which makes overestimate the ability of people to know our emotional state. When you come on stage, you probably fidgeting and you feel everybody knows you are fidgeting. That acts against you. They probably don’t know what you are passing through. It will be best to get on with it. Almost everybody experience a level of nervousness when handling presentations but I bet you rarely see that in them except when it becomes too obvious.
According to Itamar Shatz who writes in solving procrastination website, “In the context of public speaking, the illusion of transparency can cause us to overestimate the degree to which other people are aware of how nervous we are when we are presenting. We experience this bias because we have direct access to our emotional state; we struggle to remember that other people don’t have direct access to it too.”
He went further to explain that “Research on the topic shows that simply being aware of this bias can help us reduce its influence, which could allow you to feel less anxious and more confident while you’re presenting. Before giving a talk, if you’re feeling nervous, try to remember that the people in the audience can’t tell how nervous you are, even if it seems obvious to you.”