Do introverts or extraverts have the best presentation skills?

Do introverts or extraverts have the best presentation skills?

Let me start by saying that I haven’t got my spelling incorrect. I’m guided by the Insights model, which uses ‘extravert’ rather than ‘extrovert’ (and actually, Carl Jung started it in the early 20th century…who am I to argue)?

People often assume that extraverts love giving presentations and introverts hate it and that’s the way it is. Wrong! I believe everyone can learn great presentation skills and despite extraverts often showing more confidence, that doesn’t necessarily mean competence.

Loving the limelight

Extraverts often come across as funny and natural in front of an audience because they enjoy the limelight. But their message is more likely to be unpolished and/or unclear – and there’s a good chance that they’ll waffle on for too long, or go way off point.

Also, the confident extravert is less likely to think they need any help or seek out any presentation skills training because if they feel good in front of an audience they think that’s enough. There may be a couple of reasons for this; firstly, a low bar has been set. Most people think that to survive a presentation is good enough. And secondly, it’s quite likely that they don’t receive, or hear, negative feedback.

Channelling the power of introversion

Some extraverts tend to talk a lot about themselves whereas those with a more introverted preference are often excellent at empathy and putting themselves in the shoes of the audience. This means introverts are more likely to be good at giving the audience information they actually want to hear. Introverts are more likely to prepare well and to put serious thought into their presentation. As a result, their message will probably be clearer and strike more of a chord. On the flip side, they can be so shy that they don’t build rapport with the audience quickly enough.

The biggest challenge for introverts is to feel confident enough to deliver their presentation well. But working on the delivery really is the easy bit – with my help, that is – it’s not an issue at all. In my eight years of being a presentation skills trainer, I’ve noticed that introverts are much better at recognising they have a challenge and are more prepared to seek help.

So who are the best presenters – introverts or extraverts? Neither, apparently. ‘Ambiverts’ – a term coined by social scientists in the 1920’s – could be the best presenters. Ambiverts are pretty much in the middle of the scale, neither extremely introverted nor extremely extroverted. They are neither loud nor quiet; they know how to assert themselves but are not pushy. Read this article by Daniel H. Pink published in the Washington Post to find out more.




Simply Amazing Training offers professional presentation skills and public speaking training courses for individuals and companies – for introverts, extraverts and ambiverts! Have a look around the website, or call me today on 0330 223 4392 for an informal chat to discuss your requirements. And check out my ‘Pass It On’ campaign; my delegates can give their copy of my book to someone else, and I’ll replace theirs free of charge.

Posted by Dee Clayton on 14 Aug 2015

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