When speaking in public, confidence contributes to your success in public speaking or any other presentation. If you are a person who gets nervous, anxious, and your heart starts racing when speaking in public, which will lower your confidence level, changes your voice tone, and give you a shameful experience. From a person who overcame the fear of public speaking (Glossophobia). I’ll walk you through the steps to find the confidence within you and speak in public with confidence.
Table of Contents
- Prepare and practice
- Practice Deep Slow and Low breathing
- Keep a good body language
- Speak with your normal voice tone
- Load the truth
- Keep a positive mindset
But here’s a thing you need to know.
The signs of lack of confidence you show on the stage when speaking in public are not linked with self-confidence but are caused by the anxiety you feel when all the eyes are on you.
I’ll explain this better with an example:
If you have high self-confidence in yourself, but you know a little about what you are going to present in front of people. It’s a matter of minutes after you start that your mind catches the way people are looking at you with doubt and uncertainty, which makes you nervous and drops your confidence level in front of the people.
Also, read: 6 Things that Cause Lack of Confidence
Speaking publicly with confidence is a skill you can learn and get better at it.
Here are the steps to overcome lack of confidence in public speaking:
1. Prepare and practice
Preparation is very important because it removes the feeling of doubt we get when we are in front of a group of people (small or a large group). After that comes the practice time. Many people ignore the idea of practicing and it comes with many consequences.
It happens in primary school where the teacher writes an unexpected question on the board and points at you (who have no idea or is inattentive). You are shocked and become anxious because all the class eyes are on you. Either you keep silent, trembling, and don’t answer, or give a wrong answer though you know the answer, or give the answer in an unconfident way with a lower tone. On the other side, if you were attentive when the teacher was writing the question, your mind prepares to answer the question without fear.
Also, read: Self-confidence vs self-esteem
Practice what you want to speak in public speaking two or three times before your public speaking day. Practicing in front of the mirror is good, but a more effective way is to take a video of yourself speaking, then be your audience and see how you can get better or see the mistakes you made.
Preparation and practice are the first steps to make you overcome the lack of confidence in public speaking. When practicing, you might be anxious too because you imagine the audience in front of you, but here’s how to overcome that.
2. Practice Deep Slow and Low breathing
On the stage or in public speaking, you have to keep two types of breathing.
• Deep breath
A deep breath before the presentation helps you overcome anxiety. You can try it now while reading this if you are anxious. Inhale in for 4-7 seconds, then exhale. Then, see how you feel. This exercise is effective towards fear and anxiety.
Before you practice in front of yourself, practice the deep breathing exercise, then start. Before you go on the stage, take inhale for 4-7 seconds, then exhale. This will make you feel much better.
• Slow and Low breathing
The type of breathing you have to keep when speaking is low and slow. When you are calm and still, you become unconscious of your breathing. In your calm state, your breath level is low and slow that you don’t even realize you are breathing. This breathing type is what you need to keep in front of people, opposite to a fast one. After you take a deep breath, walk on the stage. Be conscious of your breathing, keep it low and slow. When you apply this method during your practice, you will notice three things:
- Your breathing is relative to your voice tone: keep it normal
- How you normally talk is relative to your breathing: i.e. the faster you talk the harder it’s to breathe.
- When you breathe low and slow, your heartbeats calm down.
All these can be learned and improved through practice.
You start finding confidence in yourself after practicing and keeping a low and slow breath.
The two first steps are enough to make you sound confident and overcome the lack of confidence in public speaking, but it doesn’t make you look confident. Step three solves that.
3. Keep a good body language
Your body language is important and makes you look confident. Things to avoid:
- Don’t walk on the stage shy, looking down, or shivering: It’s a low-status behavior and makes you look unconfident.
- Don’t walk on the stage overconfident like an overconfident gorilla: It gives a clue that you are faking your confidence.
The right body language to look confident in public speaking:
- On the stage, stand straight with shoulders back
- Walk slowly in a calm way.
- Use hand signs to describe what you are talking about and connect with the audience.
- Face the audience, but don’t keep your eyes fixed on one person.
- Move your eyes, but focus on what you are saying.
Preparation gets rid of the doubt, breathing gives you a confident voice tone, while body language gives you the look of confidence in public speaking.
Add the above body language tips when practicing and see how good you will become.
4. Speak with your normal voice tone
The audience wants a presentation they can enjoy and understand. Speak in your normal tone or change it if you have a better tone than your normal. You can record your voice to know which one is good. But don’t waste time trying to find which of your tone is perfect. Your normal tone is what I suggest you use.
Don’t speak so fast and think that’s what the audience wants. When you are speaking, take some moment to pause for 3-5 seconds, then proceed. When you speak fast without pausing, the audience doesn’t get you clearly and you don’t realize what you are speaking. Pausing and speaking normally is a sign of confidence in public speaking. Pause to know what you said and let the audience gets you.
6. Load the truth
Not everyone will admire your presentation. No presentation (no matter how great it is) is loved and admired by all the audience. You are not trying to please all the audience, but giving them a presentation that will help them. Steve Jobs and others in his presentation weren’t trying to please the audience, they are speaking their mind.
When you are in the middle of a presentation and see people giving you the look of shame. Continue with your presentation. The human mind has this weird habit of catching negative feedback more than a positive one. Many people might be enjoying your presentation and your mind will unconsciously ignore that, but when negative feedback popups, it consciously focuses on it.
Remember, you are not seeking validation. Don’t let one negative feedback break your confidence on the stage.
7. Keep a positive mindset
Confidence in public speaking comes from the inside. Ask yourself how will your presentation help the people who will be listening to you. This positive feedback from yourself gives you the confidence to speak in public speaking. Since the positivity is coming from the inside, it will make you overcome the lack of confidence in public speaking or any presentation.
Confidence in public speaking is important. Speaking with confidence is not only important public speaking but on many occasions, where it requires us to speak clearly. Public speaking skill is also important when we need to speak up for someone (eulogy). This skill is important. I hope this article helps you find confidence in yourself and speak confidently in public speaking.
- Ted – Before public speaking playlist
- Best YouTube video on confidence – The surprising secret to speaking with confidence