Online Public Speaking

Training & Practice

Speech Related Anxiety - Part 4 of 7

Next, if you find yourself worrying about YOU, let it go. You don’t want to make it about you, and it probably ISN’T about you anyway. Even if it is about you, for example if you are accepting an award, you should ideally be making it about the reason you received the award, not just yourself. See How to Write a Great Presentation for more on this. Think of it this way: You’re the conductor of the orchestra, not the music!

Lacking Confidence

The next issue is lacking confidence. Confidence has a lot to do with public speaking. That might seem like a very obvious statement. Of course confidence is an issue! But there’s more to it than initially meets the eye.

For one thing, it’s extremely important to note that confidence is often just a result of being skilled and prepared. We’ll talk about that more in a moment when we discuss solutions to confidence issues.

We also believe confidence uniquely comes into play when presenting to an audience because whether you believe in what you are saying, and in yourself, will affect whether you experience anxiety or not.

If you believe in yourself – if you have confidence in what you are saying--you are likely to experience less anxiety. This self-belief may work or not work for a moment, such as a single speech, or it might be a lifelong pattern.

Some people believe in what they have to say all or most of the time, and others don’t. Public speaking is therefore not just about giving a speech, it’s about finding and believing in your voice.

So, how do you increase your confidence when it comes to public speaking? Let’s be clear, developing confidence is a big, complicated issue that can span thousands of areas in our lives. We’re not going to pretend that we can help you develop confidence everywhere.

However, we are going to work on helping you develop confidence in the realm of what you say, which will lead to more self confidence in public speaking, which can lead to more success in other areas. If you don’t currently believe in everything you have to say, and you subsequently find your voice, you may be surprised how much confidence you will gain in many areas of life.

How does one do that? Here are some methods:

1) Love and accept yourself for who you are
That may sound very corny, but it’s really important to feel good about yourself. There are billions of people in this world, most of whom are doing the best they can just like you. We are all who we were born to be for the most part. Whether you’re tall or short, skinny or plump, gay or straight, purple or green, you are who you uniquely are.

2) Remember that you have the RIGHT to speak!

It doesn’t matter where you are on earth, whether you’re in a democratic society or a communist regime that’s trying to prevent you from speaking your mind. You have a voice. You deserve to have a voice. Everyone does. Stake your claim. Speak your mind!

3) Know your stuff!

If you want to speak with confidence, you need to know what you are talking about. Some people can blab on and on about things with confidence when they have no idea what they’re talking about, as we all know. But you don’t want to be “that guy”! People that know a lot about many things tend to be able to speak with confidence on a lot of subjects. Knowledge is power! So make a habit of researching things you talk about in general. And when it comes to a specific presentation, as we’ll discuss further when we cover preparation, you should really become an expert on your subject. In fact, you will not only become empowered when you know more than anyone in the room about your subject, the audience will sense that you do and treat you like the expert.

4) Find your passion

Try to speak about things in which you are really interested. As we discussed at length in our How to Write a Great Presentation section, you need to pick subjects that really interest you if you want to speak with confidence. Nothing drains confidence, or enthusiasm, faster than not having any real interest in what you are saying!

5) Surround yourself with the right people if you can

Loved ones that we trust can greatly impact whether we believe in ourselves. If they aren’t really listening to you, demand to be heard. Set the “rules” of your relationships. You  deserve to be heard. Of course, be a great listener in return. If certain relationships in your life can’t be redefined for mutual respect, consider whether it’s necessary to move on. You have a voice - surround yourself with those who agree!

6) Do things outside of speaking that give you confidence

This is a great way to improve every aspect of your life: Do as many things well as you can in order to build overall confidence. There’s an old saying that applies: Success breeds success. If you feel good about a lot of other things in life, odds are you will feel good about your  self, which will increase your self confidence, which will increase your confidence when giving a speech. Examples include physical fitness, hobbies, work success, relationship success, and more.

7) Find inspiration

We all need heroes, whether we know it or not. Heroes are symbols of behavior. Ever wonder why that rock star seems so compelling, aside from their great songs? They seem to live a big, glamorous, uninhibited life. They ooze self confidence. Find someone in your life or in the media that you admire who successfully presents to an audience in some way. Study them. Learn from them. You can even emulate them if you like.