The introvert is a personality type that draws energy from the outside inward. According to standard personality testing assessments, most people are introverts and no group is more introverted than technical professionals. Introverts are congenitally programmed to recoil from the prospect of public speaking with fear and loathing, yet making presentations to expert and non-expert audiences is an inescapable requirement for career advancement in any technical field. Presentation coach Richard Tierney rides to the rescue of fellow introverts in the IT and engineering sectors with The Introverted Presenter—his fail-safe guide to delivering competent presentations, no matter how unsuited by nature you might be to the performing arts.
This short book lays out the complete process guaranteed to raise you from a debilitating state of terror and aversion to a comfortable place of clarity, calm, and competence—perhaps even brilliance, if you can train yourself to convert the free energy of your fear into controlled performance. Tierney repeatedly warns his introvert readers that they risk presentation fiasco if they skip, skimp, or change the order of any of the ten steps he prescribes for thoroughly and efficiently preparing their presentations.
The surefire sequence of steps for The Introverted Presenter begins with defining your presentation’s audience and objective. The next step is to write the script of your speech in stages, constructing it on the basis of proven structural rules, cognitive laws, and dramatic tricks. Then you incrementally refine and tighten your script by delivering it iteratively, first in front of a mirror and then in front of increasingly critical test audiences, progressing from your cat to your boss. When you have a well-constructed and sound-tested script in hand and only then, you may create some slides to graft into your script in support of your opening action call and your concluding takeaways, which you commit to memory. Your slides should be limited to the smallest number possible (even zero) and the fewest possible words.