Let’s consider a scenario – you are ill and you’ve consulted two doctors – the first doctor projected himself as apprehensive and edgy, while the second one appeared calm and confident. Whose advice would you be more likely to follow? We are pretty sure you would most likely go with the advice of Doctor No. 2! It’s not that the second doctor is not qualified or has no knowledge about that particular illness. But, that doctor’s lack of confidence causes us to lose confidence in him.
“Confidence Comes From Competence.”
Though a public speaker doesn’t typically deliver a treatment plan, or give medical advice, he/she certainly encourages the audience to think differently and take action on certain things by conveying their knowledge on the subject matter with confidence.
No doubt, most people break out in a cold sweat when asked to get on a stage and address a large audience. But, the speakers who are able to manage their unease the best, are the ones who will be better able to capture the audiences attention, and influence their thinking.
So, if capturing the hearts and minds of your audience is important to you, and you are open to learning about some new ways to improve your confidence in public speaking, then this article is for you. With that being said, if you’re ready to learn how to build confidence in public speaking, let’s dive deeper!
Best Ways to Build Confidence in Public Speaking
1. Visualize Your Success
No speaker is perfect; however, there are plenty of successful ones who abandoned their fear with confidence and chose to focus on their audience instead of mulling over their own flaws and potential slip-ups. You can also become a successful speaker by visualizing your success. Imagine yourself effortlessly engaging with the audience, good delivery of the speech on the subject matter, and an audience fascinated by your charisma. This creative visualization will push your self-confidence and let you eliminate many of the negative associations you earlier had with public speaking.
2. Don’t Let Negative Past Speaking Experience Haunt You
Don’t allow negative flash-backs from your past speaking sessions to freeze you and impact your future speaking engagements. Remember, you can’t build confidence and move on if you fail to get beyond that drive to put yourself down.
Here are a few tips to help you overcome bad experiences:
- Envision yourself in a moment that makes you feel calm and safe.
- Rather than focusing on what could go wrong, pay heed to what can go right.
- Whenever negative thoughts hover in your mind, say them aloud in front of a trusted friend.
- Recall the past events and the moments that went extremely well. It will boost your adrenaline, and ultimately your confidence.
In a nutshell, every speaking engagement is an opportunity to make a new and fresh start; don’t ruin it with the thoughts of your past bad experiences.
3. Follow a Clear Structure
Do you think that a movie with spellbinding special effects but no storyline has chances of becoming a blockbuster? Of course, not! The same holds true for your PowerPoint presentation. No matter how breathtaking visuals your presentation has, it will never grab the audience’s attention if it does not have a logically sound structure.
Without a proper structure, it is possible that you put down unconnected thoughts and a lot of information. Contrary to this, a well-structured and well-thought-out presentation lets you include the most relevant and important information and decide your delivery style. You can easily connect the dots and be confident that you know the flow of the content.
To keep your audience intrigued throughout the slideshow and wanting to listen to you more and more, there must be a strong opening/introduction, body, and closing/key takeaway message with a CTA (call-to-action) in your presentations.
So, in other words, your slideshow should have the following elements:
- Strong Opening/Introduction
- Closing/Key Takeaways with a CTA
4. Complement Your Words with the Right Visuals
Indeed, words are powerful. You can further enhance your content by complementing it with relevant and high-definition visuals. Visuals, such as images, infographics, charts, and graphs, make your presentation conversational and help you convey your message to the intended audience with clarity.
With visuals, you can better represent the complex data and the emotional meaning hidden behind words. Moreover, you can connect with the audience effortlessly, which eventually increases your confidence.
5. Simplicity is the Ultimate Sophistication
Sometimes, in an attempt to add “too much” content in one slide, presenters end up losing the essence of the core message and distracting the audience. Keep in mind that the audience has a short attention span, and if you want to wow them, add simplicity to your PowerPoint slides and craft your entire speech around one significant message.
Doing this will help you better resonate with the audience and communicate your key message with confidence. Here’s how simplicity will help:
- Instead of beating around the bush, say it straight.
- Ensure your presentation has a logical progression.
- Remove all unnecessary clutter from your slides.
- Choose readable fonts and colors. Pick a color that contrasts well with the background color.
- Don’t overload your slides with animations; use them only if required.
6. Work on Your Gestures and Body Language
No matter how information-rich your slides are, you can’t make a big impression if you don’t look and sound confident. Within seconds, your vocal attributes and body language will let the audience decide whether you are authentic and trustworthy. So, there should be sync in what you say and how you say it.
Tips to Look Confident:
- Making eye contact while delivering a presentation is important to make a meaningful conversation with the audience.
- Don’t make a defensive pose. Keep your arms uncrossed with palms turned up.
- Don’t keep your hands in your pockets.
- Use the right gestures to emphasize your message and engage with the audience on an emotional level.
Tips to Sound Confident:
- Avoid using filler words between sentences, such as like, ah, um, you know, etc.
- Use pauses wisely to let the audience understand your message rightly.
- Vary the pace of your voice. Slow down your pace to accentuate the important points.
7. Do Enough Practice
You can’t master public speaking skills overnight; you need to invest considerable time in practice. So, rehearse beforehand in front of your friends or colleagues, and record the practice session. Watch the recording and notice the areas where you need to work.
Improve all the flaws and practice again. Keep rehearsing until you gain confidence to deliver your speech to a mass audience. Practice will also help you improve your body language and learn time management.
Lastly, one of the best ways to build confidence in public speaking is to relish every public speaking opportunity. Don’t feel down or give up after confronting failure; instead, make a strong comeback. Don’t validate your worth with your accomplishments; keep learning from your failures and adding to your value as a speaker.
Seek to master your subject matter, control your voice (volume, tone, pitch), improve your gestures and body language, and be authentic – these are the keys to portraying yourself as a confident speaker. Remember, your confidence levels will increase with practice; and the more you practice, the more refined your public speaking skills will be.
Till next time,
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