An International Public Speaker’s Secrets to Gaining Confidence
Updated: 5 days ago
“The best thing you can do, is to learn how to present in public.” Those words changed my life when I was thirteen. My favourite teacher in school had planted a seed which grew into a lifelong passion for me. Four years later I found myself far from my homeland of Venezuela, in Sweden presenting in English and Swedish.
Over the years, I stepped up to many different stages all over the world, presenting in various languages to different audiences about businesses and products. Now I live in the UK and work with clients from all over the world, teaching them how to speak their greatness. It’s a dream come true.
As someone who’s tried and developed a wide range of strategies for overcoming the fear of the stage for himself and clients, I have a few tips to share on how to gain confidence and deliver a great message to your audience.
How to have more Confidence
You may have heard the phrase “confidence sells”. Even if you’re not in the business of sales, whenever you go to a job interview, a work meeting, or even on a date, a positive outcome depends on your level of confidence.
The good news is that your confidence is something you have control over. I’ve been coaching people to become a more confident version of themselves and if you’re up for it, today, let’s commit to boosting your confidence.
So, first things first. Let’s talk a bit about your negative thought patterns. Is there anything you feel you aren’t good at? Everyone has experienced failure in some area of their lives. This is no reason to say you can’t overcome whatever it was where you fell short previously. Would it help to think that FAIL really stands for First Attempt In Learning? I’ll give you an example from my profession. Today I’m a professional public speaker and yet I made many speeches where I felt I failed. There’s no guarantee that all my speeches will make the impact I want.
Having a morning routine will improve your day. If you can cultivate confidence early in your day, your interactions with other people will be energizing and that builds more confidence. To put a morning routine in place, wake up fifteen minutes to thirty minutes earlier than usual. Exercise, meditation, journaling and simply taking time for yourself may make all the difference in how you feel.
Exercising is a great way to start your day. Not only does exercises release endorphins which make you feel good, there’s a scientifically proven link between the mind and body. A healthy body, healthy mind. A brisk ten minute walk is usually sufficient to get your heart pumping and ready to enjoy a good day.
Laughter is medicine. Make sure you take some time, at least 15 minutes, to laugh. It could be you look at the mirror and start laughing and your mood will improve immediately. It always works.
Don’t forget to take time to tune into your mind. One way to do this might be to start a journaling practice where you write everything that pops into your head. What negative thoughts are coming up? Are you feeling tired, angry, anxious, unsure of yourself? Write these out or acknowledge that these thought patterns are there. Once you’ve acknowledged the thoughts, you can start to look at things from a different perspective.
Here’s an example:
“My boss doesn’t like the project I turned in. He hasn’t responded and it’s been three days!”
“My boss had several meetings and his wife is away so he’s also having to take care of his children. He may be short on time. Besides, he had other issues to handle. Maybe he hasn’t found the time. I can be proactive and offer to make some time to go over it with him.”
To feel more alive do something each day that scares you. This may be picking up the phone to have a chat with your manager about your work. Do it. You will feel more confident for having taken charge of the situation.
Master the Art and Science of Public Speaking
All stories have a logical structure and this is the science of why stories work. The art is in the delivery. When as a public speaker, you study and understand the structure of your content, body language, facial expressions and tone of your voice to give your story shape, you will gain greater clarity on how it all comes together.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Once you understand how your content and voice and body must all work together, you practice. Through copious amount of practice mastery will come and this is essential for building up your confidence as a speaker.
Visualise Success and Celebrate!
When I was getting ready to deliver my TedX speech, I delivered it many times in my head through visualisation. I saw myself giving a cracking speech, how elated the audience was at the end and going out to celebrate my victory. Having this vision of success before even stepping on the stage will help your confidence tremendously.
Manage Your State
There’s a mind and body connection and through regulating your breathing, allowing more oxygen in your body, you can ease your nerves and remain in control. Sometimes even the most seasoned professionals lose their composure on the stage. If this happens, simply do what Patti Smith did at the Nobel Prizes and pause and let the audience know you’re nervous, catch your breath and get back into it where you left off.
Despite how it might feel, choking on stage is never fatal and the audience is on your side.
Trust the Process
The more speeches you deliver the better and more confident you will get at it. There may be self-sabotage and negative self-talk preventing you from taking speaking gigs. Acknowledge this voice and get back on the stage.
OVER TO YOU:
Do you have any specific strategies for working with the fear of public speaking and transforming it to fuel for the speeches you deliver? Comment below.
Are you looking to gain more confidence in your day to day life (all of life’s a stage, after all) or on the stage? Let’s grab a virtual coffee.