Public Speaking for the Soft-Spoken


US senator robert f kennedy Public Speaking for the Soft Spoken

“Be yourself. Don’t feel you need to mimic the testosterone level of a motivational speaker. You will look and feel fake. Robert Kennedy never tried to copy Martin Luther King’s rhetorical skills. RFK was soft-spoken. He owned that. And as a result, was every bit as affecting as King.”

This quote comes from a terrific Harvard Business Review blogpost by Dan Pallotta called “Delivering The Speech of Your Life.” I love the RFK example because he was clearly a sensitive introvert — if you’re curious to learn more about his life, check out this excellent biography by Evan Thomas. Let me know what you think!


And now…I have lots of exciting news to share about my book, “QUIET: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” (due out on January 24th):

—-QUIET NAMED ONE OF BEST BOOKS OF MONTH: QUIET has been named one of the Best Books of the Month by Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and the Indie Next List! It is already ranked #54 on Amazon (as of this writing)!

—-UPCOMING BOOK EVENT: Do you live near NYC? On January 24, 2012, the publication date of the book, I’ll be appearing at the fabulous McNally-Jackson bookstore in Soho at 7:oo p.m. for a Q and A about QUIET. Author Naomi Wolf will be asking the questions, and I’ll be answering them. If you attend, please come up and introduce yourself. I would LOVE to meet you.

—-WOULD YOU LIKE TO PRE-ORDER “QUIET”?: If you’re inclined to buy the book, please consider pre-ordering now. Apparently large numbers of pre-orders help attract media attention to the book – and to the cause of QUIET Revolutionaries everywhere.

(If you’re worried that you’ve already read a lot of what I have to say right here on this blog – you haven’t! I’d say this blog overlaps with the content of the book by about 10-15%, at most.)

-MOST OF ALL, A BIG THANK YOU FOR READING THIS BLOG. As I’ve said before, this has got to be one of the most thoughtful blog communities on the ‘Net — and that’s because of you.



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You may also be interested in...

  1. Public Speaking for Introverts (Courtesy of Robert F. Kennedy)
  2. 10 Public Speaking Tips (Plus a Few Questions about Your Year of Speaking Dangerously)
  3. If He Can Do It (Public Speaking), So Can You
  4. Why You Fear Public Speaking, and What to Do About It
  5. Public Speaking for Introverts: Tip #1 (Courtesy of Malcolm Gladwell)


  1. Elisabeth on 05.01.2012 at 14:36 (Reply)

    Stumbled across the title of your book on Goodreads. This topic has interested me for a long time. I read Marti Laney’s The Introvert Advantage about ten years ago and have never looked back. Self-knowledge in invaluable.


    1. Susan Cain on 05.01.2012 at 14:44 (Reply)

      Agreed! It changes everything.

  2. Tim Larison on 05.01.2012 at 15:05 (Reply)

    I never thought of Robert Kennedy as an introvert, but you are right. He had an effective soft spoken manner. Barry Pepper did an excellent job of playing Robert Kennedy in the recent Kennedy miniseries - he really captured the quiet grace of the man.

    We’ve talked about Toastmasters before (a great organization) but sometimes in Toastmasters I was encouraged to be more expressive (like an extrovert). That just wasn’t my style. Your post reminds me again I can still be effective at giving speeches in my own soft spoken way.


    1. Susan Cain on 05.01.2012 at 15:22 (Reply)

      The bio I recommended is also fascinating in showing his lifelong efforts to overcome fear.

  3. Mats Christensson on 05.01.2012 at 15:15 (Reply)

    Will the book be sold also as an e-book?

    1. Susan Cain on 05.01.2012 at 15:21 (Reply)

      Oh, sure. if you go here ( you will see links for the Kindle and the Nook.

  4. Barb Markway on 05.01.2012 at 17:20 (Reply)

    I wish I lived in New York (for a day) so I could meet you and hear the Q and A! I’m really excited for you!

    1. Susan Cain on 05.01.2012 at 20:09 (Reply)

      Thanks, Barb! I would love to meet you, too. Where *do* you live? I’ll be traveling quite a bit over the next few months. (Will start posting events to the Events Calendar on the tab above.)

  5. E on 05.01.2012 at 21:46 (Reply)

    I will definitely be buying your book, one way or another. I live in Philadelphia, so I might make it up to the book event, where I assume I could buy a copy in person.

    1. Susan Cain on 08.01.2012 at 21:37 (Reply)

      There will definitely be copies for sale that evening. I hope to see you!

  6. Jeanne on 06.01.2012 at 08:36 (Reply)

    I can vouch for the fact that there’s lots more good content in the book, compared to this blog. I was fortunate to be sent a preview copy of your book. (I never win anything! I was pleasantly astonished.)

    Great book! My daughter is reading it now. It’s been a great help to both of us.

    Go ahead and do yourself a favor - buy Susan’s book. You won’t regret it. One of the most empowering books I’ve ever read.

    1. Susan Cain on 08.01.2012 at 21:38 (Reply)

      Thank you, Jeanne. I’m so glad to know the book resonated for you and your daughter.

  7. Neil Dennis on 08.01.2012 at 18:08 (Reply)

    I’m wondering if the book has any chapters or sections on Carl Jung and his use of extroversion and introversion in his works.
    Really looking forward to the book — any book signings/readings down here in the southern U.S.?

    1. Susan Cain on 08.01.2012 at 21:40 (Reply)

      Hi Neil. I do touch on Carl Jung in the book, but there’s also been a TON of researching on introversion/extroversion since Jung’s time — it’s the most exhaustively studied subject in personality psychology — so I bring you up to date on that as well.

      So far no plans to be down South, but please stay tuned and check the “Events” tab on this blog, because new events pop up all the time. hope to meet you some time.

  8. Dana Bennett on 08.01.2012 at 20:51 (Reply)

    I never thought about Robert Kennedy being soft-spoken, but he was. I believe that the content of what you are saying is more important than how loud you speak. When I taught in a classroom, my voice raised to level it needed to be for the room. I never felt like I was shouting or putting on a show (though a lot of teaching is entertainment, even at the college level).

    I hope you’re going to visit the Tattered Cover Bookstore in Denver on your tour! I’ll be there!

    1. Susan Cain on 08.01.2012 at 22:01 (Reply)

      Thx Dana! You’re not the first to tell me about the greatness of the Tattered Cover. I hope to make it there at some point! Pls do keep an eye on my events calendar…

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