Simon Sinek, a self-proclaimed introvert who doesn’t like speaking to crowds, is the third most-watched TED Talks presenter. He offers this advice to other shy people who struggle when it comes to public speaking:
• Center yourself before you speak. Don’t begin talking as soon as you take the stage. That can make you look insecure. Instead, quietly walk to your spot, take a deep breath and then wait a few seconds before you speak. You will calm your nerves and appear confident to the crowd.
• Make eye contact with one person at a time. Sinek says that scanning the crowd disconnects you from your listeners. Instead, make direct eye contact with one person for a full thought or sentence. Then move on to another person and continue that process.
• Ignore negative body language. You are going to witness people yawning, shaking their heads and frowning. Don’t focus on them. Instead, tune in to the people who are visibly engaged. You’ll feel confident, and the audience will pick up on that.
— Adapted from “7 Powerful Public Speaking Tips From One of the Most-Watched TED Talks Speakers,” Kim Lachance Shandrow, Entrepreneur, www.entrepreneur.com.