How to speak with ConfidenceJan 21, 2022
In this blog post I want to talk about speaking with confidence. Now I see it as there are two types of speaking in public. The first is When you are out and about. You're at a wedding, you're at a dinner and it's just a casual or impromptu conversation. These conversations are important and you have to have a level of confidence, but that's not the one we're talking about today. What we're talking about is speaking with confidence when it's a planned presentation, a planned pitch, or a speech or a podcast or a YouTube video. This is what we're gonna talk about now. How to have confidence when you know you have to give a presentation, when you know you have to have something to say.
Now the first thing that I want you to consider is that you need to practice this. I remember, and this may be surprising to some of you but, I hated public speaking in school. I remember crying I remember being so nervous and scared. I hated every moment leading up to my “public speech”. With practice I was able to do it and as an adult I've published over 250 videos. These videos have been my practice. This has helped me become a more confident speaker. It has helped me become more confident when I'm presenting now.
Another way to have confidence is to plan what you're going to say. For myself I have my show notes. I have notes that I've numbered. I've numbered mine one through six, I have a plan as to what I'm going to say so that if I go off track I can wrap right back around and pick up on my show notes or podcast plan.
Don’t forget to visualize! You have to visualize how you see your presentation going.
Visualize people smiling people nodding, people understanding. You want to visualize that everything is making sense. To me, that encompasses the idea of practising planning and visualizing. This is your first step.
Now the next part, you want to stand or sit with purpose. You want to sit or stand with your shoulders back. You want to be breathing deep breaths, relaxed breaths. You want to feel the part. You want to keep your chin up, keep your shoulders back this may sound like I'm repeating myself because I am. I want you picture of somebody talking to you with their shoulders slumped their head down. They're talking soft and they talking like they don't know what they are going to say next. You feel for them, your heart bleeds for them. It feels awkward for you. Don't make that error of presenting from a physical position of weakness. Position yourself as strong and present.
The next thing I want you to understand is that you need to own the room. If you're giving a presentation, if you're giving a speech and your nerves are getting the best of you, and you're feeling absolutely terrified, I want you to understand the room is yours! Why is the room yours? That's very simple, because somebody has asked you to speak. Somebody has given you the opportunity to share your knowledge. That is why you are there. Allow yourself to understand you are the speaker that people want to hear! Even if it's just a presentation to your coworkers or other managers/leaders and you're just sharing some KPI 's (Key performance indicators) how you've improved from last month and this month. The people are there to hear you explain what has happened, so they want you there. You're the main guest, you're the keynote speaker at that moment. So be confident that you have something to say and that somebody else has voted for you. Somebody has said “this is the person who needs to say it”. I want you to understand that if you're giving a presentation or you're giving a speech or a sales pitch you're in the room because they want you.
The next thing that you must understand is the KISS principal. Keep It Simple Silly. (I try not to call people Stupid… lol). Keep it simple silly, what does that mean when you're nervous or when you feel a huge amount of pressure? Sometimes you default into using bigger words than you usually use or using jargon that is industry specific. To anybody that's not in your niche, they may not understand exactly what you're saying. It can sometimes sound like you're trying to sound more important than you are. It makes people, at least in my experience, feel a little bit uneasy when we speak like this. People are used to listening to somebody have natural conversations so the more jargon you can get rid of just dumb it down the better your speech, your presentation, your page, will sound and it will be much more relatable. It's also going to make you feel much more natural when you're talking.
Slow down and don’t be afraid of the silence. Sometimes when we are nervous, we speed up what we are saying. This may be because we think if we just spit it out we can then sit down and be done. But that’s not the case. You need to control the speed of your delivery and don’t be afraid to pause. When implemented at the right time, a pause is a very powerful part of speaking. It can draw attention to something important you just said, it can allow the audience to contemplate what was said or it can just allow you a moment to think about what comes next. Either way, speaking slower that you think you should and taking moments to pause are very helpful to your audience.
SMILE! It will make people relate to you a lot easier. With the smile, don't be afraid to use your hands. Your hands and a smile make you seem normal, this can be used on a zoom call, a conference, wherever you’re speaking but have your hands up. When I talk about using your hands you can also put them in your pocket. there's a stance that I'm thinking Don Draper from Madmen where he has his hands in the pockets of his slacks. His jacket is kind of folding over his wrist. There is power in that stance but you can’t stay that way the entire time you are speaking but there is an air of confidence form this stance. And sometimes that's the thing about speaking with confidence. It’s all about the illusion of confidence. It's the idea of maybe you're feeling nervous but part of that means you're excited so if you can just have that look of confidence and then the people listening to you, the people watching you, they feel that confidence from you and they start to relax because they're not worried for you. Have you ever watched someone on stage and they're just crumbling? You don’t want your audience to feel that because it will come back onto you, and you will do worse.
Speaking in public can feel scary but here’s the thing, YOU have information the audience wants/needs. You will have things go wrong BUT you will not die. You aren’t physically in danger. So go out there. If it doesn’t go well, learn from it and do better. Want to see this in action? Go to my YouTube channel and see my first videos… they are horrible! But guess what? I didn’t die, I kept publishing and now I have minimal concerns about video creation or public speaking!
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