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  • Writer's pictureCécile Hemery

Public Speaking as an introvert

I recently had the pleasure of joining Louise Jefferies as a guest in her podcast "English Talk - Speaking up in English at work for Introverts" as we talked about being an introvert in the workplace and taking the stage on public speaking!

Listen to the podcast episode here:

In this episode, I share that although I have always been an introvert, I didn't fully understand or accept this aspect of myself until taking an MBTI personality test in my mid-30s during a leadership training. The test results helped me recognise many common introvert traits in myself. Prior to this realisation, I often judged myself harshly for behaviours like wanting to stay home on Saturday nights instead of going out, viewing them as weaknesses. Learning about introversion allowed me to be more accepting of my natural preferences and needs.

We also talk about the biological differences between introverts and extroverts, such as how their brains are wired to process stimuli and information differently. Introverts' brains require more time to process input. While introverts can enjoy socialising, they reach a limit after which they need alone time to recharge their "social batteries". Pushing past this threshold leads to an "introvert hangover."

Society tends to favour and reward extroverted qualities as the leadership ideal, while viewing introverted traits more negatively. Introverts can fall into a self-fulfilling spiral, judging themselves for not showing up like extroverts, which then inhibits them further. The key is for introverts to understand and embrace their natural strengths and not force themselves to be someone they're not.

Self-awareness is critical for introverts to step into their own power. This involves examining expectations, sorting reality from constructs, focusing on strengths, and reversing negative self-talk. Maturity and life experience often spur people to question if they are living authentically. Knowing yourself allows you to make conscious choices to face fears and stretch beyond your comfort zone when sufficiently motivated, as I did in volunteering to give a talk in order to get my own room as an introvert needing solitude to recharge at a conference. Opening up about my introversion on stage ended up inspiring other introverts.

Listen to the podcast to hear about the journey of an introvert coming to understand, accept and embrace her natural way of being, and how self-awareness and conscious choice allow introverts to stretch themselves while still honouring their true nature. Society stands to benefit from encouraging and accepting the gifts of both introverts and extroverts.

As a coach, I draw on my own experiences and insights as an introvert to help quiet leaders gain confidence, clarity, and focus so they can show up at work authentically and have the job, the impact and the life they are looking for. If you're like to have conversation about how I could help you in your own journey, schedule an initial chat with me - whether or not we end up working together, I love to connect with fellow quiet humans!

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