The first speech I gave was right after the Mayor of Los Angeles. Mayor Villaraigosa.
Mayor Villaraigosa was a master public speaker. He totally crushed his speech in front of 300 students. After his security brigade whisked him off stage, I was welcomed on stage.
My first joke fell flat. My first speech fell flat. And I’ll never forget that gap between myself and Mayor Villaraigosa. It all revolved around confidence.
If you’re confident, you crush it.
How Can You Be More Confident in Public Speaking?
From familiarizing yourself with the feeling of public speaking to reducing tension through exercise, here are 17 answers to the question, "What are the best ways to improve confidence in public speaking?"
- Record Yourself to Simulate an Audience
- Do Not Over-Prepare
- Think About Your Audience
- Speak from the Heart Rather Than a Script
- Practice Through Presentations
- Come to Each Speech With a Small Goal
- Know Your Material
- Understand the Message You Want to Deliver
- Seek Improvement Through Criticism
- Make Eye Contact With the Audience
- Clear Your Head
- Join a Speaker's Club
- Have Your Notes Prepared Beforehand
- Use Storytelling to Help You Feel Confident Sharing
- Consider a Successful Outcome
- Get Rid of Nervousness and Release Energy
Record Yourself to Simulate an Audience
Record yourself to simulate the nerves you will inevitably feel when speaking in front of others. This will allow you to become familiar with the feeling and give you a chance to get more comfortable. Not enough people take advantage of this practice, but it is incredibly useful for boosting your confidence.
Do Not Over-Prepare
While it helps to prepare for giving public speeches, you may not want to over-prepare. Instead, save some time before you give your speech to do something that takes your mind off of this task and calms your nerves. You'll feel more refreshed because you will have cleared your head before speaking to your audience.
Think About Your Audience
Think about who you’re talking to and their characteristics. Then, based on this information, imagine what they might want to hear. Once you feel you have a good understanding of your audience, you will better understand how to connect with them when giving a speech.
Speak from the Heart Rather Than a Script
Speaking from the heart rather than reading from notes or a script is the best way to seem more confident when giving a speech in front of an audience. Your mind searches the paper for significance as you write. Speaking creates a direct link between your thoughts and those of the listeners.
As we read aloud, our brains attempt to make sense of the text, but often become sidetracked by potential outside distractions. This shows that there are fewer distractions in their minds when they try public speaking without using notes or a script. Talk firmly when you do. Establish eye contact.
Be enthusiastic in your advocacy of the topic. To emphasize a point, pause. Exercise, exercise, exercise! Be aware of your audience and address their needs. Use language that will appeal to them. Without considering what others might think of you, put yourself out there. You are not delivering speeches to the public; rather, you are conversing with individuals who are interested in your speech.
Practice Through Presentations
Just practicing speaking is one of the most effective ways to improve confidence as a public speaker. You've probably heard the adage "practice makes perfect," but I'm here to tell you that practice makes progress.
When you practice your presentation, you will realize how much more confident and self-assured you sound. Even if you believe your speech is flawless, I believe practicing will make you feel more at ease and confident in your delivery.
The more you practice, the more confident you will become as a speaker. To get honest comments, you can record yourself or practice with friends. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, visit my public speaking advice blog.
From one presentation to the next, you may learn new things that you can use in your next speech to help you deliver your message confidently and successfully.
Come to Each Speech With a Small Goal
Lack of confidence or temerity when public speaking often comes down to a nebulous fear—you're not scared of any one particular thing, you're just scared. Confidence in speaking works similarly—your lack of confidence is often very nebulous and doesn't stem from a particular issue.
What helps, I've found, is to focus on one particular thing about your speech that you want to do well – avoid any "uhs" or "ums," avoid looking at your notes, etc. This gives you a way around that nebulous sense of nerves as you're focused on one thing going right, not everything goes right.
Know Your Material
One of the best ways to excel at public speaking is to know your material inside and out. Simply knowing and being well-prepared can eradicate doubts from your mind and give you the confidence you need to speak well. Make sure your research runs deep, and this will be one of the biggest contributing factors to your confidence.
Understand the Message You Want to Deliver
The best way to prepare for a public speaking engagement is to understand the purpose of the event, as well as the message you want to deliver. Do your research in advance to ensure that you are well-equipped to present your message with confidence.
Jot down some notes to ensure that you cover your key talking points. When you have a firm understanding of what you want to relay to your audience, it will help you better prepare for the occasion.
Seek Improvement Through Criticism
You could give dozens of fantastic presentations, but the one that didn't go as planned will stick with you. You'll think about it or maybe beat yourself up about it. We focus on what went wrong, which is quite normal. How you develop and succeed because of that experience will decide how much you develop and succeed. I'm here to tell you that making mistakes can help you gain confidence.
Don't be upset or dejected if something goes wrong. Instead, turn that mistake into an opportunity for growth. It's a significant moment to solicit feedback and suggestions to help you improve the next time. Even the best thought leaders still have room to grow, so don't be afraid to listen to your critics; you could learn something from them.
Make Eye Contact With the Audience
One secret to giving a successful speech, besides being calm and prepared, is being able to connect with your audience. The easiest approach to accomplish this is to maintain regular eye contact during your speech and to offer questions tailored to interest your audience.
Rehearsing your speech in front of friends is a great way to practice communicating with your audience. This will ensure that you are at ease with your performance and can focus on engaging with your audience.
Clear Your Head
Empty your mind shortly before your speech. There are various ways to accomplish this, but deep breathing is the most effective. I advise this works best just before the speech.
Spend a few minutes focusing on your breath and slowly breathing in and out. This will relieve any leftover worry and ensure that your mind and body are relaxed as you are ready to begin your speech.
Join a Speaker's Club
A great way to improve your public speaking skills and gain confidence is to join a speaker's club. Most areas have a local branch of Toastmasters or Dale Carnegie. These clubs or courses not only teach you presentation and oral speaking skills, but they provide you with the opportunity to practice.
You will improve your writing and speaking abilities quickly. Public speaking can be terrifying for some and just a skill never learned for others. Courses and groups that teach tips and tricks to overcome your anxiety or the basic components of a speech can prove highly beneficial. As with most new skills
practice is how you become great. While you can practice at home, practicing with a live audience is the best way to improve.
Have Your Notes Prepared Beforehand
Preparing notes in advance can significantly boost your confidence and ease anxiety, even if you don't end up using them during your speech. By jotting down a few key points you want to emphasize, you can focus your thoughts and ensure that your speech stays on track. Having your notes handy also helps you remember your talking points and maintain your confidence throughout your presentation.
Jotting down potential answers to the audience's questions can help you feel prepared and ready to handle any unexpected inquiries. Overall, preparing notes in advance is an effective way to stay calm, collected, and on top of your game during public speaking engagements.
Use Storytelling to Help You Feel Confident Sharing
It's important to become familiar with the material you plan to discuss and to outline how your presentation will progress in advance. Ensure that you feel comfortable talking about the material. Much of our discomfort with public speaking typically comes from a fear that we don't quite know the material well enough.
I find it helps me to remember the material and to present it effectively if I can build some type of story in my head about the topic. Instead of remembering facts and figures, it is always far easier to visualize telling a story to share the information!
Consider a Successful Outcome
If you've ever heard of players visualizing success before big games, there's a reason for it: it works! The ideal approach to practice this technique for public speaking is to imagine yourself giving a speech.
Consider yourself confident and deliver a speech that you are proud of. Next, concentrate on the aspect of your visualization that makes you feel the most successful. If you're unlikely to have any genuine discomfort or troubles during the speech, imagining it and knowing you'll be fine is a great way to remind yourself that you can handle whatever comes your way.
Get Rid of Nervousness and Release Energy
For public speaking, it's common to feel nervous or anxious, and it may be tough to feel comfortable. But one crucial thing you must realize is that nervousness in your body is very close to excitement. And you can use this to your advantage!
It may seem crazy, but by releasing your energy before public speaking, you can get rid of nervousness and transform it into positive excitement, focus, and confidence. How? Move your body! Run around, jump, scream, whatever feels good to release your extra energy and reduce any nervous tension you may be feeling. As a result, you will soon become more determined to deliver a tremendously confident performance.
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