Confidence is one of the key ingredients needed for public speaking.
If you’re unsure of yourself, believe me when I say that the entire audience will pick up on it.
It can show up through your words, when you stumble or forget words or have lots of ‘fillers’ like ‘erm’, ‘er’ or ‘basically’. Or perhaps you talk too quickly, because subconsciously you want to get it over with. But speaking too quickly and not taking enough breaths can leave you short of air and taking breaths at the wrong time, or quickly getting a dry mouth and making a tell tale ‘clacking’ sound when swallowing.
It can show up in your body language – where you have defensive arm positions, or you shift from leg to leg (making you look ‘shifty’), or it can show up in pacing across the stage, like a caged tiger just waiting for the chance to run away.
And it can show up in all the little ‘tells’ that I see as a public speaking coach, which affect the overall way you come across to people, that they are picking up without even realising. That’s why one of the top questions I get asked is this:
‘How do you become a confident speaker?’
The first step to becoming a good speaker is having a plan. And not just any plan, but a proven process.
Whilst delivering a speech, you tend to follow some sort of plan. You may add bits in between this plan, but you mostly stick to a process – otherwise you may end up running out of time or losing track!
Keep a clear end goal in mind so that you can remember where it is that your presentation ends.
Finding the Right People
Your speaking skills may be going to waste if you’re not around the right people! This could mean selling a product or your services to potential customers or clients. Or sharing words of wisdom at a public speaking event where people are ready to listen!
But finding the right people doesn’t just mean finding your audience – it also means finding a good mentor, and finding a tribe of other people who understand what you are trying to achieve, because they are on the same journey. Here’s a hint re getting a mentor; you want to find someone who’s been there are DONE that, not someone who has been on the internet and learned it theoretically.
If someone has different experiences, they can still be a good mentor for some aspects of your life, they just might not be able to give you the skills you’re after and may end up learning something entirely different!
Practice, Practice, Practice!
Yes, there’s a reason why everyone says, ‘practice makes perfect’! The truth is, you could have the perfect strategy, coach and plan set in place for your public speaking. Yet, this goes completely to waste if you’ve never practised!
And rather than ‘practice makes perfect’, I prefer to say – practice makes productive. It is probably impossible to give a perfect talk, but it is very possible to give a polished, professional or productive one. Plus, whatever skill you’re looking to acquire, the only way to get more confidence in it is to keep practising.
Think of public speaking like driving. You had to start by reading the highway code and then booking in lessons and practising in order to pass. You needed to find the right driving instructor, one that worked for you. And you needed to get into the car and start driving, right?
No matter how confident a driver you are now, you weren’t always that way (and for some, still aren’t!).
It’s the same with any new skill, and definitely with public speaking. The more you do it, the more confident you become.
Know What Works For You
Of course, like learned skill, public speaking is unique for everyone. It may feel easier or more natural for some, and for others feel much more of a mountain to climb. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t for everyone!
Part of the experience is understanding your weaknesses, adapting to your strengths, and finding your uniqueness and authenticity.
And at the end of the day, it all comes down to your confidence. There are many ways to boost this, however the plan, people and practice process can be efficient for not only public speaking, but any new skill you’re looking to develop.
For more tips on confidence and speaking, follow Strictly Come Speaking on Instagram!
PS – If you liked this blog and want to read more blogs surrounding female empowerment, you can find last week’s here: ‘Find Your Edge‘
“I’m on a global mission to help 10 million disheartened souls, who are at a crossroads, to STOP asking why me? And START saying why not me!”