How is it that great public speakers captivate your attention from the moment they walk…
Skyrocket Your Confidence in Public Speaking
“Anna, do you have any tips on how I can be more confident when I am public speaking?”
The big ‘C’, confidence, is without a doubt, one of the topics I am asked about most as a public speaking coach for business owners. I’ve noticed in my public speaking journey, and as a professional speaker, that even though many ingredients make up our confidence, if we don’t have ourself aligned on a few levels it can impact our audience’s response.
One of the best things you can have is certainty about your topic. One way to build certainty is to know what works. Think about what comedians do; they start with open mic nights so they can trial and error their jokes and receive feedback, e.g. so the joke about my cat playing tiddlywinks got a laugh, but the mother-in-law joke didn’t. Having tried stand-up comedy at an open mic night, I can say this is a humbling experience. Especially if, like me, you are not funny!
The great news is that confidence in public speaking can be learned.
Here are my four simple steps to skyrocket your confidence as a public speaker:
Step 1 – Present you.
You are a visual aid in your presentation; you are your brand. Think about what the audience sees, and dress appropriately. Seek help if you feel it will help you to look your most aligned with your brand. Make sure the colours you wear, suit you and your brand. Dress appropriately for the topic and audience. In terms of formality level; dress one level higher than your audience will dress. For example, if your audience will be casual, you can dress semi-formal (without a full suit). Think about your audience and their experience of you.
Step 2 – Project you.
This is all about your body language, your tone of voice, upbeat outlook, how you move, the words you say and how you say them. All of these need to work together congruently. Increase your self-awareness and importantly, use your most powerful connection tool; your smile!
Step 3 – Be positive.
It sounds cliched, but your attitude as a speaker is huge. The attitude you have when you walk in the door through to the moment you leave will be detected. I have seen speakers with many years of experience get a little grumpy when something, i.e. the equipment, doesn’t go to plan. In these instances, your attitude is tested. Stick to being positive all the way through, no matter what happens. This is your mindset piece as a public speaker; your reputation is on the line.
Step 4 – Be present.
When you are present with your audience, you are not thinking of yourself, what happened before you walked in, any other priorities that may await you or any of your own needs. You are truly audience focused with your presentation skills.
In addition to your mindset preparation, you should factor into your public speaking preparations, your being present preparation, which can be achieved by being:
- Awake and alert – Show up and be there for them, be the best version of you (yes, even if that means authentically sharing a vulnerability).
- Dedicated to your audience.
- Interested in your audience – Listen (actively), ask them and gain feedback before, during, and after; tap into their energy.
- Smiley – For goodness sakes, smile!
Remember, your audience is reacting and responding to you. Take them on a journey; show up, give to and serve them like they’ve never been before!
Confidence shows up in massive amounts when what you are doing, works!
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