Are you trustworthy?? Of course you are. Being trust worthy is key to pretty much every relationship in life, right? Family relationships, relationships with friends and colleagues, and with clients – all depend on trust.
And it is the same for public speaking.
The secret to public speaking, no matter what kind of speaker you are, is trust. And what does that mean? Well, it means that the audience need to feel connected to you, they need to understand you and they need to believe you are speaking the truth. So how do you create trust?
Gaining Trust Is As Easy As 1, 2, 3!
There are three steps involved to gaining trust, and the first is authenticity.
Back in 2012 during one of my first few presentations from stage, I decided to speak with a posh accent. I had a bit of a hang up about my Yorkshire accent and assumed it would be seen as too informal and frankly common.
Actually – this nice new ‘posh’ accent, actually had the opposite effect to what I had thought. I had people who knew me come up to me afterwards asking, ‘Cheryl, what’s with the accent?’. And people who didn’t know me, instinctively knew that something was off, and didn’t buy it.
And so the next time I went on stage I used my regular voice and accent. I clearly remember one woman come up to me afterwards who praised my authenticity, even stating that it had inspired her to become a speaker too after watching me.
Authenticity = Trust
You see, when you’re being yourself the whole room can feel it, and it immediately makes you more dependable, and more trustworthy in their eyes.
And this doesn’t just relate to your accent, it also includes mannerisms. What sort of gestures do you make? Think about how you speak to loved ones.
If people sense you faking your accent or body language (which believe me, they will!) they’ll wonder what else you could be faking. They won’t trust you at all, and their focus won’t be on you or your product, it’ll just be how strange you sound!
The Power Behind Eye-Contact
Now I want you to think back to a time when you’ve first fallen in love with someone. You may remember that you just couldn’t take your eyes off them, right? Then think about when you’ve fallen out of love with someone – for whatever reasons why, you can no longer stand to make any eye-contact at all.
This is the extraordinary power of eye-contact. When you can look someone in the eye, it shows respect, and genuine human connection. That’s why you have to look at audience members in the eye too, because it shows that you’ve noticed them, acknowledged they’re listening, and are listening right back – i.e. you are noticing their reactions. And you are keen for their attention and feedback.
And one more important point – once you look away from someone, they’ll want the eye-contact back again. So, spread your eye contact around. Keep your focus moving from one person to the next, making them want you to come back to them again and again.
Breaking Down Trust
There is one final step to gaining trust, which ties into the previous two steps – and that is confidence. Now you can look someone in the eye and speak to them whilst being yourself, but if you’re doing so whilst lacking confidence, it’s not going to have much of an impact.
Confident people tend to be seen as more trustworthy because they’re sure of themselves and what they do. They bring a certain energy to the room that makes people think, ‘Yes, I want to hear what they have to say!’.
Confident people make good eye contact, and their entire body language reflects their confidence. They don’t shuffle they walk ‘on purpose’. They smile easily. They listen well. They are comfortable with silence, and with asking tough questions. They are sure of themselves and their opinions and decisions.
Think of two doctors, one who’s confident and the other who’s perhaps quieter, doesn’t smile at all, and fumbles over their words. Who would you trust with your procedure more?
The Final Step
Here’s the thing – if you CAN be yourself and make good eye-contact then you’re already halfway there.
So how do you boost that confidence? Well, being 100% certain of the product or service you’re selling is a good place to start. And practice is another thing that builds confidence. As your confidence grows, you’ll gain the audience’s trust and you’re much more likely to gain new clients from your presentation.
How can you be confident in your product? Read my previous blog here.
P. S – If you liked this blog and want to read more blogs surrounding female empowerment, you can find last week’s here: ‘Perfecting Your Storyboard‘
“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!”