Listen Now


Are you an introvert who wants to become a more confident communicator and presenter? 

In this episode, David and his guest, stand-up-comedian-turned-introvert-presentation-coach, Jon Torrens, provide practical tips and strategies to help you gain the confidence you need.

Learn specific strategies for preparing a presentation as an introvert, the importance of story-telling, powerful ways to prepare and start off your presentation, what to do when things go wrong, and how to build your “Confidence-Muscle” before your presentations.

It’s time for introverts everywhere to shine! Listen now and start building better presentations today!

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Jon Torrens has worked as a designer at games companies including Sony and Electronic Arts, and as a professional stand-up comic for a few years, so he knows how to engage and motivate and occasionally be funny too.

Now, as a coach and speaker, he teaches effective communication, using his personal skills to both show and tell. He delivers training for a range of clients in London and Cambridge, including Foster + Partners, Raspberry Pi, Redgate, Microsoft Research, Creative Assembly and Cambridge University.

Unique insights from the worlds of computer game design and stand-up comedy enable even the most introverted of his clients to deliver presentations that delight and motivate their audiences.

“Once in a generation, someone comes along who changes everything. Jon Torrens is not that person, but he met them once and tried to wow them with his Alec Guinness impression.”

Contact Jon:

Website: JonTorrens.co
Social Media: Twitter | YouTube | LinkedIn

– – –

Book mentioned in this episode:

Christopher Vogler – The Writer’s Journey

– – –


Contact the host of the Quiet and Strong Podcast: 

David Hall

Author, Speaker, Educator, Podcaster

quietandstrong.com

Gobio.link/quietandstrong

david [at] quietandstrong.com

 Take the FREE Personality Assessment:

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Minding Your Time: Time Management, Productivity, and Success, Especially for Introverts

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Podcast Transcript

00;00;00;00 – 00;00;34;00
Jon Torrens
Brene Brown once said, Stories are data with a soul, which I really like. You can give clear, concise information to an audience. That’s great, but it might not grab them. If, however, there’s a story that it’s just it’s effortless for an audience to take it in. Right. We’ve told stories for as long as we’ve been able to use language because they’re fantastic way of engaging people.

00;00;35;24 – 00;00;57;23
David Hall
Hello and welcome to Episode 110 of the Quiet and Strong Podcast, especially for introverts. I’m your host, David Hall, and the creator of Quiet and Strong.com. It’s a weekly podcast dedicated to understanding the strengths and needs of introverts. Introversion is not something to fix, but to be embraced normally while there each episode on Monday. Be sure to subscribe on your favorite platform.

00;00;58;00 – 00;01;17;01
David Hall
Leave a review. That would mean a lot to me. Tell a friend about the podcast. Help get the word out there that introversion is a beautiful thing. John Torrance has worked as a designer at gaming companies, including Sony and Electronic Arts and as a professional standup comic. For a few years. So he knows how to engage and motivate and occasionally be funny too.

00;01;17;29 – 00;01;46;07
David Hall
Now, as a coach and speaker, he teaches effective communication, using his personal skills to both show and tell. He delivers training for a range of clients in London and Cambridge, including foster and partners Raspberry Pi, Red Gate, Microsoft Research, Creative Assembly and Cambridge University. Unique insights from the worlds of computer game design and stand up comedy enable even the most introverted of his clients to deliver presentations to delight and motivate their audiences.

00;01;47;14 – 00;01;52;21
David Hall
All right. I’m excited for my guest, Jon. Jon, welcome to the Quiet and Strong podcast.

00;01;53;25 – 00;01;55;09
Jon Torrens
Great to be here. Thanks for having me on.

00;01;55;28 – 00;02;11;08
David Hall
Yeah, absolutely. We’re going to get into the work you do, presentations and communication skills, especially for introverts. But before we do that, let’s just talk a little bit about your story. How did you come to learn that you were an introvert and how did you embrace that?

00;02;12;23 – 00;02;35;25
Jon Torrens
Well, for a long time I thought I was an extrovert. So although I don’t particularly enjoy it, I was used to standing up in front of people and speaking so at school, when we each had to read a portion of a book, I was quite happy to do that and I was good at that, even if I wasn’t really good at anything else, apart from maybe Art or I would read, I would do a reading in church, and that was fine.

00;02;36;27 – 00;03;03;07
Jon Torrens
And it was only when I was when I first became self-employed that I went to a talk and someone explains the difference between introvert and extrovert, or rather the true definition, which is it’s how you recharge. It’s how you get your energy. And suddenly everything slotted into place. And I realized that whilst I can stand up in front of people and speak, I need that time on my own and that that massive need for isolation.

00;03;03;07 – 00;03;20;07
Jon Torrens
Even though, you know, I’m married with two kids, it’s striking that all all made sense and all that, you know, going going to a nightclub on my own all you know, I mean, I have friends and throughout my life I’ve had a few friends, but it’s only a small circle and I’m just as happy being on my own.

00;03;20;07 – 00;03;24;06
Jon Torrens
So I learned that. And yeah, everything kind of clicked, which was lovely.

00;03;25;22 – 00;03;41;17
David Hall
Yeah, sometimes we need to be alone. Sometimes we don’t mind. We do need others, but often it’s a small circle of friends which is completely normal, and sometimes we have to figure that out. What would you say that you learned was a strength? Or sometimes I say superpower as an introvert.

00;03;43;05 – 00;04;10;22
Jon Torrens
I think it’s the preparation and thinking about what’s coming up now. Of course, you can overdo that. You can overthink and you can get anxious, but the preparation is key. So when I’ve worked with extroverts, they’re happy to excuse me, they’re happy to improvise on the day because they know that they can they can wing it, essentially. They can have a back and forth with someone, and that’s fine.

00;04;12;12 – 00;04;33;24
Jon Torrens
And so what they do is they won’t they won’t prepare. And that’s a great strategy while it works. But as soon as it stops working, they’ve got nothing to fall back on, whereas the introvert will be thinking about every possibility, and whilst they may get anxious about it, they will actually prepare. So I think that’s real planning and consideration.

00;04;33;24 – 00;04;36;23
Jon Torrens
I see that as the as the introvert superpower.

00;04;37;20 – 00;05;03;02
David Hall
Yeah, definitely. I’ve watched other extrovert colleagues and friends give speeches and presentations and just wing it and people think it’s great, you know, and I’ve definitely been jealous of that. But then I realized, you know what? That’s not how I’m ever going to be successful. I need to prepare. But not only do I need to prepare, but like you’re saying, it’s actually a really good thing because you take some time and really put together something great, right?

00;05;03;28 – 00;05;23;23
Jon Torrens
Yeah. But also you considering possibilities and what might happen. So, I mean, I can interact and I like doing that and being spontaneous, but it, it worries me. If I have to do that too much, I’d like to have something ready. So I think there’s a, there’s a good balance between having lots of things ready and then picking and choosing what you need.

00;05;23;23 – 00;05;38;04
Jon Torrens
If you go in with a very clear structure in your mind, sometimes you can think, Oh, it’s all falling apart if any part of that structure doesn’t work. Whereas of course, you know, going with the flow a little bit is, is the, is the way forward.

00;05;39;00 – 00;05;49;28
David Hall
Yeah, I think that’s such a good point. It’s like, yeah, we need to prepare. But there does come a point where you could overprepare and things aren’t going to go as planned probably ever, right?

00;05;50;20 – 00;06;11;12
Jon Torrens
No, exactly. And I mean, Mike Tyson said everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth. Right. And Eisenhower had a lovely one, which he repeated in many interviews. He was talking about war. But of course, it became relevant to everyone, which is I’ve always found planning to be essential but plans to be useless, which I really liked.

00;06;11;12 – 00;06;25;01
Jon Torrens
So that thinking and considering everything that might happen. But then on the day you can’t, you can’t plan for that, you know. So planning for emergencies is stupid because that’s an emergency. Some of you have plans, right?

00;06;25;07 – 00;06;39;23
David Hall
Right. That’s yeah. I love that. So on this show, we talk about the strengths of introverts, the needs of introverts and strategies for success. But we also do plenty of myth busting. Is there a myth out there that you would like to dispel about introversion?

00;06;40;25 – 00;07;01;15
Jon Torrens
Yeah, I think it’s that introverts aren’t good communicators. I think that’s a myth. I think a lot of people, whether they realize that they fit into that introvert mindset or not, they know how they are and they just think, Oh, it’s not for me or this other person is gifted. It’s, you know, it’s okay for them. They can they can do all that.

00;07;02;04 – 00;07;24;23
Jon Torrens
But actually, I think introverts can make fantastic communicators. And I have a theory that a lot of standups, maybe even most standups, are introverts, because you spend a hell of a lot of time on your own, your trying to write material, you’re traveling on your own. I mean, ultimately when you’re performing, you’re kind of on your own, especially if it’s not going well.

00;07;24;23 – 00;07;49;25
Jon Torrens
But you’ve got to it’s tons of planning. The idea that you’re just walking up there and being brilliant is is, of course, nonsense. There’s a routine and you may improvise around it, but it’s taken tons of planning, tons of experimentation, tons of just trying stuff out. So I think that’s that’s the mess. That’s, you know, you can’t be a good communicator and you have to be an extrovert.

00;07;51;00 – 00;08;00;18
Jon Torrens
I would argue that someone who’s really thought about it and shows that they thought about it is possibly more engaging. Yeah.

00;08;01;10 – 00;08;19;22
David Hall
Yeah. That’s definitely a myth. I’m so happy to have you on the show for that reason, because we are we’re definitely going to bust that one throughout this show because it’s not that we can’t be good communicators, it’s just we might need to take a different approach. And someone that understands introversion like yourself can help that other introvert understand how they can have the best approach.

00;08;20;23 – 00;08;39;26
Jon Torrens
Absolutely. I mean, one of the joyful things that I get to do is if I’m coaching a group of people at the beginning, I’ll say, right, everyone’s going to stand up and introduce themselves. And of course, everyone hates that you know, there’s nothing no more chilling words in the English language than let’s go around the table. Right. No, no way to do that.

00;08;39;26 – 00;08;55;14
Jon Torrens
And, you know, listen to what anyone else is saying because you’re thinking what you’re going to say. But in that moment where I’ve pushed them slightly cruelly, but I push them out of their comfort zone, they introduce themselves. So they’ll speak for a minute or so and I’ve been very vague. I’ve stated what who we are as an audience.

00;08;55;14 – 00;09;14;25
Jon Torrens
I’ve said, just talk about yourself. I said, what I should do about the personal life of the world. But typically what happens is they’ll do it and they’ll be fine, right? They’ll be clear. They may even look confident and they sit down and I say, right, how is that for you? Oh, it’s terrible. How is it ever? Which is a perfectly normal thing.

00;09;14;25 – 00;09;34;19
Jon Torrens
And then, as I say, generally it’s gone fairly well. And I say, Right, what does everyone else think? Can you give some feedback? And they say things like, Oh yeah, you’re not really confident. It was really clear. And you can see this confusion because the idea we have of how we are is often just skewed. It’s it’s wrong, it’s inaccurate.

00;09;34;26 – 00;09;44;24
Jon Torrens
And so it’s lovely to to do that, to show actually you think your there but in fact you’re your there you’re much more often than you think.

00;09;45;09 – 00;10;07;00
David Hall
You busted another myth there and I’ve thought the same thing that will stand up comedians are introverts as well. So you’re observing things. Now, I have no idea what percentage, but I think it is pretty high because people often say, oh yeah, well, actors, standup comedians, they can’t be introverts. But the truth is that many, many are many great comedians are introverts.

00;10;07;00 – 00;10;20;13
David Hall
And, you know, knowing what an introvert is, you and I could kind of tell, you know, who the introverts and they, you know, have great power of observation and just look at the absurdities of life and find the funniness in it all.

00;10;20;29 – 00;10;41;13
Jon Torrens
Exactly. And that’s that’s the key. I mean, you know, a standup is always desperate to get new material. New stuff, because it’s interesting for you as as the coming. And so you need to be able to do that. You need to be able to sit there and just see people or notice conversations and just see this stuff and then think, right, there’s something there, what can I do with that?

00;10;41;22 – 00;10;59;17
Jon Torrens
And so, yeah, you’re just sitting there in your own head running through stuff, just thinking, Is this good? Is this good? I mean, Seinfeld’s done some great stuff. He’s got a little bit on YouTube where how you write a joke and he’s writing just a bit of material about Pop-Tarts and it’s just lovely. But you can see it’s just him.

00;10;59;17 – 00;11;06;18
Jon Torrens
He’s completely happy in his own company with a biro and some paper, and that’s it. And yet in his own head.

00;11;07;09 – 00;11;25;03
David Hall
That’s funny that you said him, Jerry Seinfeld, because that’s who I was thinking of, too. You know, I used to love the show and it was just so clever the way it was interwoven. And he’s definitely an introvert. Maybe people don’t realize that because they don’t understand what introversion is, but that’s what makes it brilliant, is he’s always thinking about things and observing things.

00;11;25;03 – 00;11;32;03
David Hall
And so you did that for many years. So tell us about that. How did you get into standup? How did that lead to what you’re doing now?

00;11;32;27 – 00;11;49;09
Jon Torrens
Yeah, it’s it’s a funny one. I guess some a lot of people say, oh, I fell into this and I fell into that, but I did fall into it. So I, I did pretty bad. His school arts was going to be my thing. That was the only thing I was really good at. But I did quite a lot writing stories and so I didn’t, of course.

00;11;49;28 – 00;12;10;17
Jon Torrens
And then someone who I know know my art course after we left college, got a job at a video games company, and I thought, Great, you know, I love video games. And this is before that was a known career path. I went to work there, but then I was I’d been watching a few bits of stand up comedy, and this was in London.

00;12;10;17 – 00;12;28;24
Jon Torrens
So this is the early nineties. And one of the programmers, which is quite unusual, really wanted to start doing stand up comedy. And so we decided we would both do it. And so we both started digging around London at that time. You know, there’s all these little clubs, a lot of them just little rooms above pubs and behind pubs and things.

00;12;29;16 – 00;12;48;27
Jon Torrens
And there were hundreds of them. And so you could go and do them and, you know, maybe get paid a few pounds or no money, but you could try stuff out and we would compare notes. So that was really nice where we’d say, Oh, you know, this gig’s really good, or This comic’s really good, and we’d be observing the techniques and trying stuff out.

00;12;48;27 – 00;13;08;06
Jon Torrens
And I remember discovering the pull back and reveal, which is, you know, I was doing this thing and then this happened and you’re basically saying, actually, I was in a supermarket, in a shop, but I thought, this is amazing. And then my friend said, That’s the oldest. That’s just the most basic thing you can do. And so that was that was funny.

00;13;08;06 – 00;13;29;24
Jon Torrens
But I started doing that and I just got hooked. And even though it was sort of terrifying, I felt like I needed to, to try it out and do it. And you get addicted. And that’s the thing. It’s the most incredible experience. You only need that one reasonably good gig, which might be, you know, a dozen people laughing and you think, this is it, this is all I need to do.

00;13;29;24 – 00;13;36;00
Jon Torrens
And so you become a fiend and you have to keep doing it just to get that fixed.

00;13;36;00 – 00;13;38;20
David Hall
So what part did that play in what you’re doing now?

00;13;39;04 – 00;14;07;14
Jon Torrens
Yes, sorry. That was the other part of your question. I beg your pardon. Yeah. So I did that for a long time at the same time as being a video game designer, I went full time at stand up, didn’t become a superstar, left that went back to video games and that was fine. And then I’d seen some pretty terrible presentations in the video games industry and it just sort of popped into my head and someone I talked to, someone else who’s very smart about this as well.

00;14;07;14 – 00;14;23;17
Jon Torrens
And so, I mean, I talked to someone else as well who’s very smart. I’m not saying I’m very smart. And they suggested this thing. They said, look, you know, people need these skills. These are skills from standup comedy. You know, if you’re giving a presentation, you need storytelling and performance. And this was staring me in the face, really.

00;14;23;20 – 00;14;42;27
Jon Torrens
You know, I was doing okay in video games, but it wasn’t great. And I realized, yeah, these are these skills that I’ve got. And so I tried it out and I ran a little session of the games company. I was out, we did a fight club, you know, with Joe Stokes Speech Club and it worked. And we getting so the feedback I was, yeah, this is a thing, I can do this.

00;14;43;06 – 00;15;00;17
Jon Torrens
And so I set up on my own. It’s almost exactly ten years ago and I realized, yeah, it works because people have a fear of speaking and so if you can help them with that, then that’s a viable career path. And yeah, it’s worked. 

00;15;00;17 – 00;15;05;05
David Hall
So how do you help them overcome that? Fear speaking? How do introverts gain confidence in their communication?

00;15;06;04 – 00;15;23;21
Jon Torrens
The first way? I mean, I can tell them lots of things, but the first way is really to push them to do it. So like I said, I’ll get people up to speak and show them that wasn’t as bad as you thought. You are not as bad at this as you think. And here are some techniques. There are some shortcuts.

00;15;24;00 – 00;15;44;29
Jon Torrens
So it comes down to writing how to create material, telling stories. You know, story does a lot of work, but you can you might only have to remember a place or a company name or a person, and that is enough to spark all the things you need to tell that story. And within that story, you might prove qualities and abilities that you have.

00;15;45;06 – 00;16;16;21
Jon Torrens
And by getting people to actually do it and pointing out, yeah, you did, you know, you did this thing. So typically people will speak a little too quickly. They might not smile very much because they they want to impress and look professional. But generally you’re showing them, yeah, you can do this. Here’s another technique. Try this out. And so I’ll get people to write a short piece and give them feedback and they’ll realize, actually, it’s not as hard as you think, but you have to you have to prove it out and I’ll get them to do something very short and sharp.

00;16;16;21 – 00;16;31;12
Jon Torrens
You give them 10 minutes to write a five minute piece because typically we think, Oh, right, I have to give a presentation or I have to speak in front of these people. I need to do lots of work and you should do lots of preparation, but you can gets to the stage where it’s good enough very, very quickly.

00;16;31;28 – 00;16;34;12
Jon Torrens
The rest is all just finessing.

00;16;34;24 – 00;16;42;17
David Hall
Okay, so so many questions to follow up on that. You brought up storytelling. How important is storytelling in giving a good presentation or speech?

00;16;43;23 – 00;17;07;20
Jon Torrens
I think it’s vital. In her a TED Talk, Brené Brown, actually, she’s done a few TED talks, but Brené Brown once said Stories are data with a soul, which I really like you can give clear, concise information to an audience. That’s great, but it might not grab them. If, however, there’s a story that it’s just it’s effortless for an audience to take it in.

00;17;08;04 – 00;17;30;02
Jon Torrens
Right. We’ve we’ve told stories for as long as we’ve been able to use language because they’re fantastic way of engaging people. I guess on a very basic hunter gatherer level, we would be interested in someone else’s experience because it was survival, so it would be this danger here. There’s food here, let’s go this way. Or I did this like you.

00;17;30;09 – 00;17;49;00
Jon Torrens
I find we’re interested in stories, particularly if it’s something that we might encounter ourselves. So the story might be my neighbor saying that we got a new front door or we had something done to our house. The media pick it up. Who did you get? Because I want to know what? What are the stupid things you did? I’m going to avoid those.

00;17;49;08 – 00;18;07;13
Jon Torrens
What are the clever things you did? I’m going to copy that. Right. And that’s that’s how we collaborate and help each other. Whatever you do, don’t do this. Top tip, do this thing. I think that’s the sort of fundamental attraction of the story. But yeah, it just goes straight in. If you start off with This is me, this is what I’m going to talk about, that’s fine.

00;18;07;13 – 00;18;30;27
Jon Torrens
That’s clear. But if you start with a week ago, I was in this place and I had this challenge and I was really struggling. It’s just it’s going straight and people don’t even have to get into listening mode. It’s just so much more engaging. So yeah, I think stories are also a great way of demonstrating qualities that you want people to infer.

00;18;30;27 – 00;18;51;07
Jon Torrens
So you could claim, I work hard on great solving problems on a brilliant, elaborate set, right? That might be sincere and it could be true. But if you tell a story of how you achieved this thing, let’s say that you faced a problem with some other people, you overcame it. You would demonstrate all those qualities and then they would infer those things from it.

00;18;51;07 – 00;18;55;23
Jon Torrens
But yes, stories do. They do so much wonderful.

00;18;55;23 – 00;18;57;00
David Hall
What makes a good story?

00;18;58;22 – 00;19;26;07
Jon Torrens
Generally, I think misfortune is really good. So, you know, a story where everything goes well isn’t very interesting. So things going horribly wrong. The hero’s journey, the classic story arc as defined by Joseph Campbell and then very skillfully by Christopher Vogler and his book, The Writer’s Journey, which I can certainly recommend. There are lots of of elements, but typically it’s there and back again.

00;19;26;14 – 00;19;52;24
Jon Torrens
It’s Lord of the Rings. It’s there’s a villain in a distant place, I read, wanting to argue that every James Bond story is basically that this is a hideously deformed, evil creature, typically a man, of course, who’s doing evil stuff and needs to be stopped. So you leave your ordinary safe place with maybe a mental character. And I’m going back to the classic Lord of the Rings Hero’s Journey style.

00;19;53;13 – 00;20;18;16
Jon Torrens
You travel, then you overcome ever increasing risks. You make alliances and friendships and fall in love and learn to fight. And then finally you saw the evil Dark Lord. Now, of course, that’s that’s the sort of the classical almost fantasy world. But to take that and apply it to everyday life, it’s basically this person wanted something and there was a barrier or a problem happened.

00;20;18;17 – 00;20;44;00
Jon Torrens
This is how we overcame it. So Ted talks very commonly. I find use the structure of I had a terrible experience, I overcame it. I’m stronger now. Here’s what I learned for the better for the audience, which is lovely. And so they’ll start off with something quite unpleasant often. And I think, yeah, a story where you say, Look, I messed up, you know, I did something really stupid, right?

00;20;44;01 – 00;20;50;29
Jon Torrens
That’s that was just going to be a funny story. And the fact that you’re comfortable sharing it, I think is, is very attractive to an audience.

00;20;51;20 – 00;21;05;24
David Hall
Yeah, it’s funny because like the great movies that we watch has all those elements. You know, you mentioned like The Lord of the Rings, a movie with The Hobbit just hanging around in the shire, just doing boring things. Nobody’s going to watch that.

00;21;06;23 – 00;21;21;09
Jon Torrens
It’s not going to happen. Or indeed, Luke doing chores on his in his desert farm like nothing’s happened today. All right, that’s good. Meanwhile, you know about the empire. Yes. Let’s go. Right. It’s. Yeah.

00;21;22;02 – 00;21;32;18
David Hall
Cool. When you’re coaching, do you find that people are ready to tell stories? Are they natural storytellers or do they need permission to tell stories? If that makes sense?

00;21;33;18 – 00;22;00;27
Jon Torrens
I, I don’t think so. I think what when I say, hey, introduce yourselves, sometimes people will sort of tell their story generally. Not intentionally either. So they’ll say they might have moved to the UK from another country or they might have worked at different companies. So they will tell. They’ll often tell a nice story and arc. And also it’s lovely because it’s sort of ongoing.

00;22;01;02 – 00;22;32;17
Jon Torrens
And now I work here, but of course that story can then continue. So I think that happens fairly organically. But you’re right, it’s it’s tricky. You can’t just say, hey, tell us a story about you. But if you ask them to talk about a particular experience, then they might come up with something. A lot of the time I find I don’t if it’s a particularly British thing, but if you ask someone to from the UK and say, Hey, tell us all about you, firstly they don’t know why you’d want to know.

00;22;32;24 – 00;22;52;04
Jon Torrens
It’s a sort of confusion, so I don’t know what to say, but also I don’t know why you’re asking me that question, whereas from other countries and I would say perhaps the US, you know, and obviously it’s a massive generalization, but I think you could point a microphone in front of an eight year old from the US and say, Hey, who are you?

00;22;52;04 – 00;23;12;16
Jon Torrens
And they’ll be ready to go, right? All kinds of things, which is lovely. So I do tell people to collect stories, you know, have a think about your experiences, think about things you’ve done because it’s great to be armed with as many stories as possible. So when you’re talking to people, whatever the situation, maybe you have something that’s relevant to what they’ve said.

00;23;13;26 – 00;23;17;29
David Hall
How do you do that yourself? You write them down or keep some kind of journal or I.

00;23;17;29 – 00;23;36;06
Jon Torrens
Do remember how to. I think I try and remember them, but I did. It was a good idea and I need to go back. So I did have a document. I thought I need to find out what stories I’ve got. And so, yeah, you can do that. And as I said, you could just have one word that reminds you of it, you know, or writes a few short words so you can have a list.

00;23;36;24 – 00;23;47;04
Jon Torrens
So yeah, I need to go back and look at that. But generally the way my brain things around, whatever people say to me, that would be something that, you know, I’ll join onto it.

00;23;47;16 – 00;23;52;01
David Hall
So how do you get started off in a presentation? How do you make a good first impression?

00;23;52;29 – 00;24;26;21
Jon Torrens
That is a great question. You need to prepare thoroughly. I’m going to say that now. I think what I really like is speaking words out loud in order to writes, which might seem odd. The natural instinct of most people is to sit down, open up a word document, or even open up slide software and start creating stuff. But I think there’s a great power and great shortcuts in just standing up, possibly walking around and just talking, just talking.

00;24;26;21 – 00;24;47;28
Jon Torrens
So, of course, you have to have an idea of what you’re going to talk about and maybe what the sections are. We just start talking and something wonderful happens there where I think you free up a little part of your brain. It’s a bit like if you try and design something in a software package, that’s okay. But if you start sketching with a pencil and pen on paper, like it kind of it liberates you a bit.

00;24;47;28 – 00;25;09;02
Jon Torrens
I find it makes you a little bit free in the way of operating things. So walk around, talk about it, and then capture those words. So I could be stopping to knock them down. It could be recording it. And I appreciate listening to yourself. Or even worse, watching yourself is a deeply unpleasant experience, but it’s incredibly useful. Capture those words and use that to inform that process.

00;25;09;11 – 00;25;28;09
Jon Torrens
The shortcut of it is that it takes you to a place where you’d be much further down the line if you did the conventional method of sitting down and writing, because you’d sit down and write the thing and think, Well, this is great. Typically we don’t write the same way we speak. When you then go to deliver it, you’ll encounter all the problems because you haven’t said the words out loud first.

00;25;28;09 – 00;25;32;24
Jon Torrens
So what I like to do is to say the words out loud, capture those and then take it from there.

00;25;34;17 – 00;25;40;14
David Hall
Yeah, that’s true. Often you write something and then you try to speak it. It doesn’t sound right.

00;25;41;13 – 00;25;58;12
Jon Torrens
No, it’s funny how even a simple collection of words or a sequence will trip you up. You’ll find that you just can’t say these three words in order, so you need to change them. And that’s fine. But if you’ve never said the words out loud until the day, so that can be an unpleasant surprise.

00;25;59;15 – 00;26;01;22
David Hall
So what makes a great presentation?

00;26;03;07 – 00;26;31;09
Jon Torrens
If you look at the TED talks, it tends to be it tends to be people are talking about something that matters. Right. So we may not all have that lucky gift. We’re talking about something that matters. It may be a meeting on a Tuesday about something quite everyday or even mundane. But I think if you can talk about something that’s really important to you and the audience sees that, then I think that will really grab them.

00;26;31;20 – 00;26;55;03
Jon Torrens
And I think that’s that’s what I like to see. It’s like great speeches. That person is really carried along with it like this. This is an important thing. Now, of course, I could still be something at your workplace or just talk to a friend. But I think if it’s if it’s important, I think that’s really that can be really engaging and compelling.

00;26;55;03 – 00;27;23;10
Jon Torrens
But then, yes, you need to edit and make it nice and show as short as possible. And I believe the Gettysburg Address is famously only a few minutes long. It’s a site or paragraphs book about something that matters, keeping it really concise. If you go back to I think it was Aristotle, is that the three methods of persuasion, bear in mind this is 350 C, but I think he’s pretty much nailed it and ethos, logos and pathos.

00;27;23;10 – 00;27;51;16
Jon Torrens
So the ethos is how you operate. So you might start off with this is what motivates me, this is what drives me, this is how I like to do things or logos of the logic. So that’s facts and information. So do you know what percentage of these happened last year or what do you think this statistic represents? You know, hard fact and then pathos is the the way I understand it is the audience’s emotion in relation to what you’re talking about.

00;27;51;16 – 00;28;08;03
Jon Torrens
So what does this make you think of? How do you feel about these things? And the idea being if you touch on any of those or even better, all three, you’ll grab them, persuade any audience. But that can be a really nice way to kick off getting straight into it. As I said, you could say I’m going to talk about these things.

00;28;08;03 – 00;28;23;09
Jon Torrens
I’m going to these are the sections. Or you could just start off with no introduction. Hello. What’s the first thing you did this morning? Just get straight into it. And with the question as well, I think a question is a great way to engage an audience.

00;28;23;09 – 00;28;29;01
David Hall
I know you work with people on their mindset and giving a presentation. How do you get into a good mindset?

00;28;29;24 – 00;29;03;08
Jon Torrens
Fundamentally, it’s by reminding yourself of the facts. So there’s a psychologist called Rick Hansen who said, Our minds are like Teflon for good experiences and Velcro for bad ones. So in terms of evolution, our ancestors survived because they worried about things that might happen. Right. Good for them. Unfortunately, that’s that now translates into anxiety for us now. Oh, oh, hey, I’ve lost my train of thought.

00;29;03;08 – 00;29;14;17
Jon Torrens
Fantastic. Right. Well, we’re moving past again. So this is the way my brain works. Although that’s good. I’ll talk about Rick Hansen. Now I’ve forgotten. Where were we? You have to remind me. Yeah?

00;29;14;24 – 00;29;22;20
David Hall
Why is that? We, you know, Teflon and Velcro, you know, why do we remember the bad more often than we do the good?

00;29;23;13 – 00;29;45;18
Jon Torrens
It’s a it’s a survival mechanism. And it’s from the era of fight or flight and freeze. It’s to protect us, help us survive. But it’s no longer useful. Oh, yes, I remember that. Brilliant. Thank you. You’ve done it. Remind yourself of the positive truths and that’s the thing. So that’s it. Now, remember that. Thank goodness. It’s honestly, it’s a pinball machine in my head.

00;29;46;05 – 00;30;09;19
Jon Torrens
People will often worry or usually, I think worry about what’s coming. Will I remember the next thing? And before a talk, a presentation, they might focus on all the terrible things that might happen. And so they worry about all those things rather than thinking, I’ve got this or, you know, visualizing success, which can be very, very useful, but the positive truth will be almost obvious.

00;30;09;19 – 00;30;29;09
Jon Torrens
And it’s what a trusted friend or colleague would tell you. You know, your stuff, you’ve done your preparation because you haven’t done your preparation, then you can’t tell yourself that. But if you’ve done your preparation, then you’ve got the foundation of spending the time writing and rehearsing. So you’ve got something, you know, your stuff, you’ve done your preparation, the audience is on your side.

00;30;30;09 – 00;30;48;15
Jon Torrens
Another simple thing like you’re going to talk for 20 minutes, you can answer some questions. If you don’t know the answer to any of those questions, that’s absolutely fine. And then you’re going to finish and go and have a cup of coffee. Another very useful truth is it’s not as significant for the audience as it is for you.

00;30;49;04 – 00;31;10;09
Jon Torrens
Even in the most important talk, someone halfway through will saying, Oh, I wonder if there’s ham for lunch, right? They’re just, you know, they’ll go and that’s fine. And it’s nothing personal. It doesn’t mean you’re not doing a great job. But this is a smaller part of their day than it is for you. We’re all bit players in someone else’s story and heroes in our own.

00;31;10;09 – 00;31;28;09
Jon Torrens
So you’re fretting about it. It may be a big deal. It may be this pitch may be really important. But at the end of the day, literally at the end of the day, it’s it’s not going to matter that much. And, you know, if I face a problem, I think will I care about this and, you know, tomorrow will I care about this in a week’s time next?

00;31;28;17 – 00;31;36;08
Jon Torrens
It’s really I like to remind myself nobody cares. And I mean, that’s really nice way. I mean, no one cares about this little thing that I’m anxious about.

00;31;37;20 – 00;31;56;27
David Hall
Yeah. Yeah. The definitely we tend to think about ourselves more than other people do for sure. I like the points that you just made because you should have confidence because there’s a reason why you’re giving that presentation. Because you you do know that you were asked to do that because that’s your expertise. Feel confident in that, right?

00;31;57;00 – 00;31;57;27
Jon Torrens
100%.

00;31;58;02 – 00;32;08;10
David Hall
You know, we were kind of talking about introverts need to be prepared. How is preparation different for introverts versus extroverts when it comes to giving a presentation?

00;32;08;10 – 00;32;42;24
Jon Torrens
I think was that I think I mentioned that introverts might be sort of might be able to focus on it more. There is also that problem of doing it too much. So I think the introvert will naturally gravitate towards doing lots of preparation, but they also may have an accompanying anxiety. So I do like to think the introvert will be more than happy to spend lots of time preparing, but something to be aware of.

00;32;42;24 – 00;33;07;06
Jon Torrens
Let’s say you were using slides. I know that most introverts will think, Ooh, I’ll make really wonderful slides, and then no one will look at me and I’m safe, which of course is not the case. And obviously people are going to look at you, but also the slides may fail and so it’s down to you. So you will be the medium of that talk in the slides that is backing you up.

00;33;07;20 – 00;33;12;11
Jon Torrens
But I think yeah, I think an introvert will naturally gravitate towards preparation role, which is a very good thing.

00;33;13;05 – 00;33;34;12
David Hall
I know we were talking about this before I hit record, but you know, you can only prepare so much. So how do you deal with those situations that you’re not ready for? And you probably had to do that a lot as a stand up comedian or, you know, in presentations when people are asking things that you’re not sure of, how do you deal with those things that you do your best preparation?

00;33;34;12 – 00;33;36;14
David Hall
But then there’s things that you can’t prepare for.

00;33;37;20 – 00;34;00;26
Jon Torrens
Certainly will be, yeah. The unexpected will always, always be something that I think there’s appreciating the absurdity of your situation. So being able to just laugh at it and say, Right, this thing isn’t working. I think being really open and honest about it is really good as well. And just saying, Right, this is not what I meant to show you.

00;34;01;24 – 00;34;25;00
Jon Torrens
The audience is looking for emotional guidance. How should they feel about it? How do you feel about yourself giving this talk? What do they see in you? And so if something goes wrong and you look worried and you apologize, then that might confirm to them that something has gone wrong or conveyed to them that something’s gone wrong and you should know better.

00;34;25;16 – 00;34;43;24
Jon Torrens
But if on the other hand, you smile and say, Right, I didn’t mean to do that is the next thing it tells them. You’re in a safe pair of hands and it probably wasn’t that important. I think you can persuade a very ambivalent audience that things are going much worse than they actually are just because you look freaked out.

00;34;44;09 – 00;35;08;11
Jon Torrens
Whereas if you go with it and realize, Yeah, I can just go to the next section, it doesn’t really matter. I think that’s, that’s really good for an audience. But yeah, they’re just looking for guidance. So and also, you know, confidence is a trick, right? That that first moment of walking out on stage being announced, if you can get that first bit right, then I think you can set yourself up for success.

00;35;09;12 – 00;35;16;05
David Hall
And where does your body language and nonverbal, where does that all come in and having that confidence in your presence?

00;35;16;28 – 00;35;42;12
Jon Torrens
Oh, it’s it’s massive because you’re sending out signals. If you stand the right way and you appear to be confident, you’re sending out lots of signals to the audience that say, I know what I’m doing, I’m credible, which works, even if you’re feeling really nervous. But what it also does is it sends signals to your own subconscious, your brain, if you like, that says that, say, I like doing this, I’m comfortable doing it.

00;35;42;12 – 00;36;07;17
Jon Torrens
And so this is incredible, empowering act of stepping into the shoes, of being that confident person that you want to be. It’s amazingly self-fulfilling where you start out. Then, of course, this is a great thing to practice and rehearse. If you’re if you happen to be giving a talk at a big conference, I would always recommend go to that sound check, get on the stage beforehand and get used to it.

00;36;08;11 – 00;36;26;05
Jon Torrens
But you stride out there, you stand up properly, you smile, you gesture, and you say, Hello. Hello, everyone, I’m going to do this. And it sets up what I call a positive feedback loop where they think, Oh, thank God, this is going to be okay. That’s All we want, we just want it to be okay. It’s not terrible.

00;36;26;25 – 00;36;58;25
Jon Torrens
And you show that you’ve prepared and so you’ve got something good on your slides and you’ve maybe you mentioned something specific to the audience. They think, Great, this is going to be wonderful. After that, it almost doesn’t matter what happens. As long as you’ve done something, we’ve prepared fairly well. But on the other hand, if you’re, you know, if you flounder at the beginning because you have done your preparation or more specifically what you’ve asked, if you’re in a physical pose that looks nervous or defensive, it’s going to send out the wrong signals.

00;36;58;25 – 00;37;22;11
Jon Torrens
And it’s going to confirm to your own brain that actually I’m uncomfortable. The Amy Cuddy Ted talk your body language may shape who you are talks about this group of people did confident poses and raised their hands in the air and did the Wonder Woman pose, which is a fantastic one hands on the hips. And I recommend if you do that, do it before you’re told not during unless you feel it would it would help.

00;37;23;10 – 00;37;42;20
Jon Torrens
It sends these signals to your brain that basically says, I know what I’m doing and smiling does it as well. You know, you smile. You know, if you smile when you’re on the phone, it changes the sound of your voice. People can tell you’re smiling on the sign, but it sends a signal to your brain that says, Yeah, I’m happy and it works, even if you’re feeling terrified.

00;37;43;19 – 00;37;44;08
Jon Torrens
Yeah, yeah.

00;37;44;08 – 00;37;51;01
David Hall
Great points. So you’ve mentioned slides a couple of times. What’s your general philosophy behind like the visuals that you use?

00;37;52;12 – 00;38;18;29
Jon Torrens
Keep them simple, give them obviously some start with no slides, honestly, start with no slides, right? You’re to get used to saying it, see how long it takes. And then I mean to deliver the whole thing and then look at it and think, Do I need slides anywhere? For some people there will be points maybe throughout where they’re absolutely essential, where you have a wonderful picture, maybe you’re talking about art, right?

00;38;18;29 – 00;38;47;12
Jon Torrens
Then you have an image of the art or you’re talking about some data. And if you have a graph, it conveys lots of information really quickly. However, if you’re not talking about something that requires those things, you may find and a lot of TED talks these slides at all and none of none of the great speeches ever had any PowerPoint in the you may find that you can deliver this talk and convey the ideas, get them into your audiences heads with no visuals whatsoever.

00;38;48;03 – 00;39;06;05
Jon Torrens
That’s way more powerful. And I think if the other people who are presenting all use slides and you walk up there and you go, Right, well, I’ll be needing this. Let me talk to you about X. That can be pretty powerful. It can make you stand out, make you look a lot more credible, and it’s just more interesting for an audience.

00;39;06;20 – 00;39;34;01
Jon Torrens
So I would start with none and then introduce them as you need them, but don’t feel you have to have a slide for every moment that you’re speaking because you do a nice little trick you can do is to have a slide with maybe your name and the title of your talk. If you’re using slides and it’s up there when you start and you talk and then you keep talking and you talk about a few different things, and after about a 30 seconds or a minute, the audience realizes, Oh, you’re not using those.

00;39;34;10 – 00;39;53;26
Jon Torrens
And your credibility at that point is boosted massively. Oh, and also another thing is, if you do have slides, if you’re ready to deliver it without the slides, if they do fail and, let’s face it, the tech can fail easily. It’s really nice for an audience and makes you look very credible if you say, All right, that’s not working.

00;39;53;26 – 00;40;09;01
Jon Torrens
Well, anyway, here’s what I was going to talk about. Whereas a lot of people say, Oh, oh, I need to get the i.t person, we need to fix this. And the audience is sitting there thinking, would you know this stuff or not because these slides are better be amazing when they come back.

00;40;09;22 – 00;40;18;23
David Hall
Right? Yeah. You got to be ready. And I’ve had that happen to me before for sure. You have to be ready to go ahead and give your presentation if the technology does fail.

00;40;19;27 – 00;40;39;17
Jon Torrens
Yeah. And there’s all sorts of things that can go wrong. I mean, I like, I like to get to a venue really early just to go through all the tech stuff and find out what leads we need to use and whether the, you know, sometimes I’ll send slides to someone and they won’t have the fancy typeface that I’ve I’ve installed and it all looks wrong.

00;40;40;00 – 00;40;47;03
Jon Torrens
So yeah, it’s good to get there early to fix those problems, but also just to ground yourself and get familiar with the space.

00;40;47;22 – 00;40;55;16
David Hall
Yeah, that gives you a confidence too, especially as an introvert, to be prepared to know what the space is going to look like so you can do that.

00;40;56;22 – 00;41;17;29
Jon Torrens
Yeah, that familiarity I think counts for a lot because in that moment where you start to give your talk and your feeling super nervous just being familiar with what it feels like to stand in that place and look at everyone, what it feels like to use the, you know, the clicker or whatever device you’ve got to advance the slides that will really help calm you down.

00;41;17;29 – 00;41;33;13
Jon Torrens
Whereas if you’re going into a slight panic, which is totally normal, if you’re really unfamiliar with everything and then something happens with either you took over something or you can’t work our way of glass of water is that will throw you off completely and derail the whole thing. 

00;41;33;13 – 00;41;43;19
David Hall
Yeah. Yeah.  All right, John, we’ve talked about so many great things. Is there anything else when it comes to presentations, especially for introverts that we didn’t talk about yet?

00;41;43;19 – 00;42;22;16
Jon Torrens
I’m not sure. And I should have an answer to that. I think this is general, but I think it’s important to state anyway. So this may not be introvert specific, but perhaps it is is to get as much experience as possible. And I guess that’s a simple fact, but it’s really important. So even if you’ve managed to avoid speaking in front of a group for a long time and the only time you speak in front of a big group is at a conference, I’m taking the opportunity to speak in front of just a handful of people at a little meetings, just for a couple of minutes.

00;42;22;26 – 00;42;47;14
Jon Torrens
Doing that as often as you can, I think, can give you great rewards. Some people say confidence is like a muscle. It’s something that needs to be exercised and used as much as possible. And I would definitely go with that. It’s like physical fitness. You can do little talks, you can talk for short. So a short amount of time frequently you could do it every day.

00;42;47;14 – 00;43;05;26
Jon Torrens
That’s fantastic. So I think getting experience of any kind is really useful. And while your instinct may be to avoid it at all costs, if you can push yourself out of your comfort zone, then you can really make huge leaps.

00;43;07;13 – 00;43;21;07
David Hall
Yeah, and I always say to as an introvert, we’re masters of reflection. So you can always think about, how’d that go? You know, what might I do differently next time? And just keep building and just put yourself out there like you’re saying?

00;43;21;29 – 00;43;40;20
Jon Torrens
Yeah. And another one, the way we think of it is, is get feedback. So I gave a talk last night and it was fine and it was to a small group. But afterwards I thought, Oh, that didn’t go so well. Like I wasn’t happy about it. And I found even after good talks or good sessions or I’ve been training people afterwards, all those doubts will come in.

00;43;41;01 – 00;43;55;15
Jon Torrens
And so I think it can be really useful to get feedback from other people and say, Right, how did that go? Just tell me absolutely straight. And a lot of the time I find there are lots of positives that you simply weren’t aware of. And, you know, remind yourself of those positives is really important.

00;43;56;10 – 00;44;10;17
David Hall
Yeah, yeah. Like the Velcro and the Teflon to keep the Positive value in your head because we remember the bad too often. Yes. Just tell everybody a little bit about the work you do and how people can find out more about you.

00;44;10;17 – 00;44;45;03
Jon Torrens
Okay. So my website is John Transcoding UK. So it’s Joanne to Ian’s stock, Kodak UK. And the work I do is was individuals and groups and I help them with speaking confidence. So the most popular format for that is normally the standing up in front of people with some slides. But I help people with interviews and networking and meetings and other communication formats, and I principally work with introverts and I like to make it as useful and practical as possible, but also as enjoyable as possible.

00;44;45;03 – 00;44;49;26
Jon Torrens
So I can’t guarantee there will be laughs, but there are generally laughs. Okay.

00;44;50;09 – 00;44;59;14
David Hall
That’s great. John, it’s been so good to have you on the show. And introverts can be amazing communicators. They might just need to learn a little bit about what the best approach them is.

00;45;00;19 – 00;45;03;08
Jon Torrens
Absolutely. And thank you so much. It’s been really good fun.

00;45;03;24 –  00;45;35;27
David Hall
All right. Thanks, John. Thank you so much for joining me. I look forward to further connecting with you. Reach out to David at quietandstrong.com or check out the quiet and strong dot com website, which includes blog posts, links to social media and other items, semi topics or guests you would like to see on the show. If you’re interested in getting to know yourself better, there’s now a free type finder personnel. The assessment on the quiet and strong website is free assessment. We’ll give you a brief report, including the four letter Myers-Briggs code.

00;45;36;09 – 00;45;53;24
David Hall
A lot of link to the show notes. There’s so many great things about being an introvert, so we need those to be understood. Get to know your introverted strengths and needs and be strong.

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