I’ve always liked to be heard. I have an opinion and love to share it. Speaking confidently in public was something that I was okay with. Nervous, but overall fine. You have to be if (like me) you’re prone to standing on your soapbox.
I would present, and I could perform, but I often left people cold when it came to being myself. I could speak in public, but I wasn’t very good at it. Then I went through a training and development course, and speaking in public just clicked.
I could be with people.
Whether in front of them or a group, I could actually experience the moment and share what there was to share. In fact, at one stage, partway through the program, I was called on to speak a eulogy at a funeral in front of a thousand people. These tips helped me get through. It helped me stay calm. And had me connect with the people in a way they remembered beyond the usual reading.
And I’m not special. I think anyone can learn how to speak confidently. It just takes training, breaking through what’s going on in your head and being committed to something more important than you are. Oh yeah, easy Suger, simple, you might say, but it is when it comes down to it. Here are the five key items that I learned that would help.
How to Speak Confidently;
Make eye contact
Most people will tell you NOT to make eye contact. Look towards the back of the room. Fake the eye contact thing by looking just over people’s heads. Well, bull to that. Eeeek, controversial! When you make eye contact, you are interacting with your audience. You see the encouraging looks or the nodding off, and you can adjust if need be. Make changes or clarify your point when people look confused. You need to know where your audience is so you can effectively communicate with them. That is, after all, what you re doing up there.
The first time I spoke in public professionally, I worried so much about what I would wear. I was in THE MOST uncomfortable but professional looking suit. Wearing suck in underwear to look slimmer and teetering on high heels that almost had me skid off the platform. Not a good look. Sure, you want to look professional and authoritative, but mostly you want to be yourself. And you are more able to be yourself if you’re physically comfortable.
Know your stuff
If you are speaking as an expert, you have to consider YOURSELF an expert. If that takes a little more research, some current reading on the topic or hours of preparation, you have to do it. If you try and wing it, you’ll be more nervous and more likely to perform the public speaking equivalent of a face plant. You want to have a basic speech outlined, know your material and be ready to divert from the plan if the situation calls for it. Act like a scout, be prepared.
Make it about them
Even though you’re pretty sure that at that moment, the universe revolves around you and your fabulousness, it doesn’t. You are there to be of service to the people in front of you. You are there to communicate the information or knowledge they require. Really, you’re a conduit, and that’s it. It’s about them, so stop making it bout you, and the whole process will be easier. Stop thinking like you and start thinking like them. Deliver what it is. THEY came to hear, and you’ll always be a smashing success.
Look, it really comes down to no matter how nervous you get before (and I get VERY nervous, you need to enjoy yourself. If sharing what you know isn’t enough of a kick, think about how very cool it is that someone cares. Laugh and joke, if that’s your thing. Have a good time, and let yourself shine.
Those are my tips on How to Speak Confidently! I hope they help, especially for those of you taking their first steps into the public speaking world. It might even be a presentation for work or school. Whatever it is, feel the zen come over you. I’ve got your back!
Are you a confident and effective speaker, or are you the I’d rather die thanks variety? Got any tips for us?
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Hi! I’m Suger; Chief Blogger at Suger Coat It. Blogging since 1901; love a casual ootd, taking photos + writing about things that irk or inspire me. I love wine and cheese, long days at the beach and spending time with my family. I make stuff for the internet; photos, create content, write copy and devise social media plans for personal brands, small businesses and bloggers. You know, living the sweet life.