How to Speak Up in College Class When You Are Introverted
BY: SUSAN PARKER
Every human being is different. While some of them are naturally outgoing and love to be in the company of others, there are many others who are quiet and like to keep to themselves. This is a personality trait and one that lives with a person for life. Such reserved and quiet people are termed as introverts.
But being an introvert doesn’t necessarily mean you get to miss out on the joys of life or compromise on the things that you’ve always wanted to do. Though it may not come naturally to you, with some time and effort, you can always achieve your goals.
One of the pain points for an introvert is public speaking, especially speaking up in class. A million thoughts run in the mind of introverts when they have to stand up and talk in a crowd. That said, in today’s competitive environment, getting this ability can make a big difference to your career.
This is why we present to you some strategies that will help you to speak up in class or among a crowd of people, even if you’re introverted.
Accept your fear
The first step is to understand that you’re an introvert and accept that you have a problem talking in a crowd. When you acknowledge this fear, you will take steps towards addressing it. On the other hand, when you are in a state of denial, you will never be able to overcome this fear.
After you accept the fear, verbalize it, and even write down the reasons for your fear. It can be fear of getting ridiculed by others or lack of confidence or just about anything else. Make a list of the reasons that cause this fear in you and start addressing each of it in your own way.
Practice makes you perfect
Practice, practice, and practice. There is no other way to become good at what you want to do and that includes public speaking too. Spend a few minutes every day talking about your favorite topics in front of a mirror. As you gain more confidence, talk in front of your closest friends and see what they have to say. Once you feel confident, start speaking in places with more people and eventually, speaking up in class will become easy.
While practice is important, it is not easy considering that as a college student, you have to juggle between tons of things like your schoolwork, job, social life, and staying healthy. This is why you should take help whenever and from wherever you can, so you get some time to improve your confidence in public speaking. For example, consider taking the NASM practice test and study materials to shave some time off your studying routine so you can focus on this important aspect of speaking as well.
Put yourself in your audience’s shoes
The best of speakers put themselves in the shoes of their audience to appeal well to them. Are you going to be talking in front of your classmates who may have the same doubt as you? Or are you going to explain a concept to your juniors who are eager to learn?
Understanding your audience will take the fear off your mind and can prepare you to deliver a great speech. Remember, there can be many introverts among your audience and by speaking up, you are encouraging them and setting the right example for them to follow.
Never aim for perfection
We are all humans and we make mistakes at all times. So, never aim for perfection as you will fail every single time, regardless of how good a speaker you are. At the same time, make a note of your mistakes and work on them so you don’t repeat the same in the future. This constant cycle of making mistakes, accepting them, and working on them will make you a great speaker eventually. In fact, after a few years, you will reflect on this journey and will feel good about yourself.
Reflect before hand and prepare
As an introvert, you’re probably more comfortable observing people and reflecting on their behavior. While that’s good, you should also ensure that it translates to meaningful action from your end. This means you should not just observe people or watch their reactions but also frame your content in your mind accordingly. This will give you the confidence to speak up and at the same time, what you say will resonate well with your audience, leading to a win-win situation for you.
Start with questions
All of us have doubts regarding what’s being taught in class. While the extroverts prefer to ask directly, introverts either rely on someone else to ask those same doubts or they simply prefer to do their own research to find answers. Though the second solution is not altogether a bad one, you’re better off learning it directly from the teacher and for this, you must stand up and ask that question that’s bothering you.
In fact, this may be a first step towards getting used to speaking in a public place. Remember, everything begins with small baby steps and this is your step towards building your way in public speaking. Never worry about what others would think of your question or whether your teacher would ridicule you for it. Just muster up all the courage in the world, stand up, and ask the first time. After that, it won’t seem so daunting after all!
In short, being an introvert is a natural personality type that doesn’t necessarily mean you cannot be a good public speaker. Though you may not prefer to get all that attention that extroverts seek, it is still important that you stand up and voice your opinion and beliefs to the world. The above-mentioned tips can go a long way in helping you hone on your speaking skills and overcome your fear and inhibitions, so standing up and expressing your thoughts will never be a cause of concern again.
Susan Parker is a writer and tech geek. She volunteers for local environmental conservation programs and writes stories online about things that inspire her.