Business Writing and Presentations
    Wed., Sep. 4-Dec. 11, 2019
    6:25-9 p.m. ET
    New York University
    (graduate course)

    Presentation Skills for Introverts®
    Thu., Mar. 26 & Apr. 2, 2020
    6-8:55 p.m. ET
    New York University
    (2-session workshop)


    How to "Talk the Talk" at Professional Events (free)
    Columbia University Alumni Career Services

    How to Think on Your Feet: Improv Skills for Business
    Co-facilitators: Nancy Ancowitz and Carl Kissin
    American Management Association

    How to Deliver Powerful Presentations as an Introvert
    American Management Association

    Essential Management Skills for Introverts
    American Management Association

    How to Project Confidence with Demanding People
    American Management Association

    Secrets of Successful Public Speaking
    American Management Association


    Tango for Leaders
    For organizations

    Success Strategies for Introvert Leaders
    National Institutes of Health
    (Workshop for NIH employees only)

    Publisher's Weekly
    "Best Books"
    The New York Times
    "Currently winning our race for most intriguing book title of 2009 is the oxymoronic “Self-Promotion for Introverts” by Nancy Ancowitz (McGraw Hill). The 'how to' book is filled with tips (rehearse is a favorite). The author’s tone is supportive and she does not argue that introverts should become live wires. But what else would you expect from a book whose subtitle is 'the quiet guide to getting ahead'?"
    The Wall Street Journal
    "…showing how quiet people can turn their innate strengths into an advantage when networking."
    ABC News
    "Best Book Gifts"
    Los Angeles Times
    "Whatever's behind your reluctance to speak out for yourself, this is the first book I've seen with serious research on the topic that leads to a new game plan."
    CIO Insight
    "Must-Read Fall Books for IT Execs"
    "Best New Career Books"
    "Offers a solid dose of practical advice—alongside humorous anecdotes.... Ancowitz shows introverts how to take advantage of the unique qualities and strengths they can offer."
    The Independent Consultant
    "There is great value in this book, whether you are promoting your own business or consulting practice, or just want to be sure your talents are recognized within your larger organization."
    Small Business Trends
    "Written by an introvert for introverts."
    Ft. Myers Florida Weekly
    "'Self-Promotion for Introverts' is a primer on doing just that—helping 'quiet sorts' assert themselves by using their inherent tendencies in the most effective ways."
    Women and Leadership Australia
    "Pitched perfectly. Our rating: 10/10."

Presentations for Introverts: Interactive is Easier! Part 1

stock-photo-24198668-happy-businesswoman-speaking-at-podiumPAID FORRecently, after I gave a presentation, a few audience members came up to me and insisted that I couldn’t possibly be an introvert (could, too!). Why? They said I was “on fire”—fully engaged with my audience. I was giving a workshop on public speaking, and had a ball helping make such a universally feared activity accessible, and even fun.

Like many introverts, even though I need my quiet time to get fueled before and after a presentation, I enjoy being in front of the room, engaging with audiences. How can you do that? The trick is to take the spotlight off yourself and, instead, shift your focus to your audience—a win-win for you and them.

Many of the following tips are simple techniques that teachers and trainers have used forever. So you may have personally experienced some of them, or even used them as a presenter. If you’re an introvert, consider how you can you use them to spice up your presentations while giving yourself precious time to take little breathers from “extroverting” in front of the room.

Tips for Making Your Presentations Interactive

1. Take the audience’s pulse. Ask for a “quick show of hands” to find out what they’re thinking. Be sure to respond and adapt to what you learn from them (also poll the audience in advance whenever it’s feasible). If thinking on your feet is not your forte, arrive prepared to take your presentation in several different directions. And to build those thinking-on-your-feet muscles, consider taking an improv class (see “Improv for Introverts”).

2. Get Socratic on them. Ask your audience questions to get them thinking. This will enable a useful dialog with them. And while they’re talking, you get to catch your breath and get a little thinking time in yourself.

3. Give a pop quiz. Challenge your audience to see what they already know or what they’ve learned from your presentation. Ask them to jot down answers. While all that wood is burning, you’ll get another breather. Then, review the answers with the audience. Get them to explain their thinking, and throw in your own insights. Enjoy the dialog—and another break from being the center of attention.

4. Get them tweeting. For more tech- and social-media savvy audiences, give them a few minutes to turn on their handheld devices and ask them to share their thoughts via Twitter, which you can project onscreen. This can work in person and online.

5. Divide the audience into groups. You can do this in many ways – for example, you could ask them to select their teammates or, if time is short, just divide them up by where they are seated. Get each group to discuss the topic at hand and ask them to choose a spokesperson to report back. Doing this will get everyone into the act. Give them a set amount of time and specific instructions, which you can post to a whiteboard or flip chart.

6. Ask them to role-play. This is another activity that can work well in groups or even pairs. It’s an effective way to practice skills for interpersonal settings like meetings, interviews, or networking. Start by modeling an example yourself, or guide some volunteers from the audience into doing a quick demo. Then, have everyone do it for a set amount of time and report back.

In the second part of this story, you’ll get more tips to make your presentations feel more like one-on-one conversations with your audiences – a real plus for introverts. Meanwhile, you’re welcome to write in with your own favorite interactive presentation techniques.

© Copyright 2014 Nancy Ancowitz

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