What is that single most important attribute that will enhance who you are, and what you are capable of?
CONFIDENCE in self, is the magical ingredient that will carry you through every opportunity, adventure, situation and circumstance with ease and élan.
It’s a known statistic that more than 80% of the population is scared of public speaking. While some people can speak in front of a group,they often lack the confidence to make an impact.
Confidence is often the trait we admire in others and lament the lack of it in ourselves. While some are indeed born confident, the rest of us CAN acquire this empowering skill. Be it a school going teenager, C-suite level businessman, or even a simple housewife; being confident is a key skill for everyone.
In the experience of over 10 years as a speaker/performer/Radio host & emcee, here are 5 easy ways that help to demonstrate confidence while speaking in public:
Dress to Impress
Like it or not, people do judge on appearances – clothes, hair, shoes, and other “vain” stuff of that nature!
Do not make compromises on your appearance and grooming. Mind you, I am not talking about extravagant beauty pageant sort of appearances. Basic grooming is essential to your physical appeal. A well-groomed person will always be more appealing visually and automatically get and hold more attention than the unkempt one.
Dress per the reason and season; it’s the right thing to do. Know what the desired dress code for the occasion/event may be, and abide. Doing so also conveys that you respect the time/place/event/audience; plus you yourself will feel more confident about yourself.That’s one less thing to be anxious about when you know you are dressed right!
DO NOT WEAR UNCOMFORTABLE CLOTHES or FLASHY ACCESSORIES. Always wear something that doesn’t need your attention or distract the audience while you are speaking/presenting/performing.
Pace Your Delivery
Many of us speak a lot faster when engaged in a face-to-face casual conversation. While giving a presentation, a speech, or any formal communication, you need to slow down a bit so that your audience can listen and absorb easily and fully. Be careful not to rush to end your speech sooner than intended out of nervousness. Keep your vocal delivery at a steady pace.
Be mindful of the time of your audiences. Don’t be unnaturally slower either; no one has the patience or time to waste.
Also, make sure that you stick to the original speech. Do not adlib or ramble. People have better things to do than listen to your off topic or unnecessary ramble.
Don’t try TO ACT smart
To sound smarter, we tend to use heavy sentences in our speech or presentation. On the contrary, long and convoluted sentences may not make you sound smart at all.
Using simple words doesn’t imply that you’re dumbing down the message; on the contrary, you gain credibility for your ability to articulate complex ideas with simplicity and ease. Speak in a language that’s comprehensive and not necessarily overloaded with superfluous and flowery verbiage that may or may not be familiar to your audience.
It’s always a good idea to stick to your expertise and have a thorough knowledge of the topic. Know your subject well. Be the credible expert and authority (if possible) on your subject.Your knowledge of your subject and your passion for it will certainly resonate with your audience. Do a lot of research about your topic and try to gather some interesting unknown facts to amuse, inform, entertain or educate your audience besides captivating their attention.
Trial Before The Show
Practicing in front of a mirror does help but doing so doesn’t really give you the feel of the real event. In such a scenario, I’d suggest you practice in front of people. Practice in front of a credible critic or people you may know.
According to neuroscientists, many high-performing athletes rehearse under mild-stress conditions. This helps them get a feel of similar situations they’re likely to encounter in the real event.
Once you have gone through a similar situation, it will strengthen your confidence when it’s time to face the real one.
Probably the least practiced, yet crucial part of your speech is your body language. While some overdo their hand movements as if they’re performing an act on the stage, others just keep their hands in the most awkward positions.
The idea is to keep it authentic and natural. Rather than keeping your hands in the pocket, use them to help you emote as you speak. Hands behind the back indicate discomfort, nervousness and a desire to withdraw or to be done soon. Pointing fingers in different directions will make your audience uneasy. An ‘open posture’ would work in your favor when giving away your message. Having two hands, palms facing up, above the waist would be considered open.
If you are comfortable without a podium, go for it. It’s always better to use the stage space to the fullest. Own the space, rock the moment and the opportunity.Do seek post performance feedback and critique from sources you trust.
You might have a life-changing idea to share, but if you don’t say it with conviction, no one would be interested in it. Don’t just SOUND confident, BE CONFIDENT. Prepare well and have faith in your thoughts and yourself. And that’s the whole point. So the next time you get an opportunity to shine, SHINE ON!.