CHAMPION STRATEGIES – PUBLIC SPEAKING WORKSHOP – JANUARY 21, 2021
How to speak with confidence in public
Identify and challenge your excuses
Write down the thoughts you have when you avoid speaking in a meeting or when you reject delivering a presentation. These thoughts will identify what you’re specifically afraid of, such as, worrying the audience will judge you as incompetent.
This negative inner dialogue reduces your confidence and makes you think you can’t speak in public. Challenge these thoughts by looking at evidence of your successful communication and recognise how unrealistic the thoughts can be.
Focus on your message
When you’re presenting focus on what you’re saying and why this message needs to be delivered to the audience. This will keep you connected with your speech and will prevent you from being distracted by, for example, an audience member falling asleep or your evaluation of how the presentation is going. Instead you’ll be connecting to the listeners who finding your presentation valuable.
Create a stage persona
It can be tempting to imitate favoured public speakers but it’s better to work out what your characteristics as a speaker are and then amplify these. To develop a confident stage persona ask yourself:
- What are my best characteristics as a speaker? E.g. Am I empathetic? Humorous? etc.
- What are my features as a speaker? E.g. Do I gesticulate a lot? Am I energetic? Do I stick to the script or do I improvise? etc.
More experienced and confident public speakers use humour in their presentations. The audience will be incredibly engaged if you make them laugh and it lightens the mood which will make you feel more comfortable. But caution must be exercised when using humour because a joke can be misinterpreted and even offend the audience.
Only use jokes if you’re confident with this technique and it’s suitable for the situation. Making fun of yourself is usually a safe way of using humour and it cultivates trust because it’s more relatable to the audience.
Be prepared for mistakes
Mistakes happen all the time but reacting awkwardly can make the audience feel uncomfortable. It’s better to laugh at yourself so consider preparing one-liners to fall back on if you do make a mistake. Having this back-up can make you feel more secure.
Recognise the positives afterwards
After delivering a presentation it’s typical of some people to only focus on the negatives of the presentation. By doing this you’re ignoring the positives even though there were probably more of these compared to the amount of negatives. Acknowledge these positives and write them down so you can remind yourself in the future and challenge your negative predictions.