How to Nail a Work Presentation and Still Be Your Awkward, Introverted Self

By Erin Sherbert

If you feel like your introverted self comes off as awkward at times, it’s because it does. And that’s okay. Awkwardness tends to breed some of the most genuine moments.

But it can be tricky when you have to make presentations at work, no matter how important (or unimportant) they are. That’s because presenting is an activity made for extroverts, right? Well, just as extroverts can’t avoid lulls around the office, introverts can’t escape the dreaded spotlight at work: presentations.

So how can you nail a presentation at work and stay true to your awkward, introverted self? Here’s how I deal with it.

1. Stay inside your head: The worst advice a person can offer an introvert is to get out of their own head. Why would you do this when you’re most successful inside your head? Your inner solitude will serve you right, as it always has. It will keep you focused and prepared, helping you visualize a good outcome.

2. Consider your silence your superpower: You are probably already known around the office as being less than bubbly. You’re a person of few words — so what? This could work in your favor when it comes time to present. The less you babble, the more people tend to listen.

3. Don’t present — talk: The thing about introverts is they thrive on one-on-one conversations, which is why presenting in front of groups is overwhelming (and scary!). If you are like this, talking to a group doesn’t feel natural. As a result, you might try to overcompensate by saying or doing things that won’t feel right, not even to extroverts. Just talk to the group the same way you’d talk to one person in the group.

4. Don’t try to channel your inner extrovert. Remember what happened the last time you tried this?

5. Practice in front of people who truly know you: There’s good reason for this: they won’t try to scrub away those quirks of yours that work. Sure, they will help polish you up (speak louder and remember not to sit in the middle of your presentation), but they’re also less likely to tell you to insert comments (wasn’t that a beautiful lunch, everyone?) or throw out hand gestures that just aren’t you.

6. Treat yourself: Congrats, you finished your stretch assignment. You can put your headphones on and crawl back into your mental hole. But before you go, treat yourself to something nice to celebrate. Perhaps a fancy dinner — alone, of course.

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