How to become more Confident at Public Speaking

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Confidence or more specifically Self Confidence is both an emotion, feeling and an attitude. It is very hard to put a finger on how some people become more confident even exude confidence while others don’t. Over my years as a student, a young property manager, first time mother and reinventing myself in a new career in a foreign country my confidence and self-belief has taken dives and had small peaks.

I believe now that part of my healing and recovering from a bottoming out of self- confidence; created through a whirl wind of events such as moving countries finishing a career, becoming a mother, feeling like I couldn’t cope;  was through doing the thing that people often feel the least confident at. Public Speaking. So how was it that I became more self-confident through public speaking rather than having the self-confidence first ?

After long reflection I admit I probably had a baseline of confidence that I could speak ‘well enough’.  The second major contributor was I had someone that inspired me. I knew I wanted to be like another woman whom I had heard speak. I was fortunate enough she could then give me some coaching. But mostly I knew that I didn’t want to continue the way I was, or worst still go back to my old profession feeling like it was a job not a career.  I had motivation, which started the ball rolling to take action.

But mainly I did what was absolutely required to gain confidence. I took action. Belief that you can do something yourself is just self-efficacy, it’s not real confidence. Real confidence comes from trialling, trying, succeeding and failing but ultimately by taking action.

So if you want to become more confident and public speaking seems like a good place to start there really is only one option. You must start to speak in front of groups of people, you must actually stand up and speak or at least around a table and speak to the group.  That sounds frightening until you realise that whenever you speak socially or in a business setting you are employing, using, practicing public speaking skills. So effectively you are doing it most days.

Ideally be conscious of the fact that you are employing public speaking skills daily. Once you start to realise you’re doing it on a daily basis your belief that you are able to take action and succeed (or fail) will have a positive effect on your confidence.  

Ultimately you should try to vary the situations. Speak to larger groups, or stand instead of sit.  Prepare what you are going to say instead of ‘winging it’.  Nail the basics of public speaking, then seek you ways to upskill.  By having a mindset of taking action to speak, being conscious of the fact that you are using public speaking skills you will increase your self confidence in your ability to speak. This will have a flow on effect in other soft skills and has the added advantage that you’re speaking up and being heard.  Many people have been given promotions, increased pay or new employment opportunities because they spoke up.

 

To learn more look at Diana’s Keynote Section.

Diana Thomson

SpeechMarks Coaching, Auckland