Speak up with Confidence

Speak up with Confidence

Master the first few moments to lessen nerves and really shine

 Do you dread public speaking? Does even the thought of standing up in front of an audience to talk fill you with fear? Sweaty palms, flushed cheeks, dry mouth, stumbled words? Well fear no longer! Often the first few moments, even the anticipation of the looming event, is where you need to focus in order to overcome the debilitating angst that stops you from putting your best self forward.

“Be master of mind rather than mastered by mind” – Zen saying

When you need to speak publicly – whether that’s presenting to a client, sharing your updates in the weekly team meeting, or making a farewell speech for a colleague – follow these tips to make the thought of it and the first few moments work for you, not against you.

Visualise success

If you find yourself focusing on what will go wrong, that becomes your experience of the event. But as John C Maxwell said, “Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react.” So, choose instead to focus on a successful outcome. Visualise yourself conveying your message in a clear, compelling way, and you will increase the odds of it happening that way.

Embody your strengths

Think about your strengths and skills and bring that version of you forward. Choose three of your most useful strengths, perhaps you’re logical, approachable and have a calming voice, and embody these three things before you enter the room.

Strike a power pose

Mind and body are connected in more ways than we often realise. Studies have shown that simply adopting a posture of authority, confidence and power can make you feel the emotions connected with these qualities. A straight spine, expansive gestures and making eye contact all help to get increase confidence. Check out Amy Cuddy’s TED Talk to learn more.

Adopt a growth mindset

Believing in your ability to improve is at the basis of having a growth mindset. It means you see yourself as mouldable and always learning. And this increases the likelihood that you draw the learning from your speaking experience to continue to develop and grow. Neuroscience backs this up – we now know that connections in the brain strengthen and develop with practice. So, view your speaking opportunity as a chance to get better and better.

Make friends with the audience

Take the assumption that the audience is on your side. You have something to share, and they want to hear it. This can make the distance between you and them feel smaller and as a result remove some of the tension so you can relax a bit more.

Practice self-compassion

“Fall seven times, stand up eight” – Japanese Proverb
 It’s OK to fall down sometimes. Accepting that failure is all part of the growth experience helps you figure out what works and what doesn’t. Be kind to yourself if things don’t quite go according to plan.

This short video captures a few of these approaches. Try one or two of these tips next time you need to speak in public and find the techniques that best reduce your anxiety and allow your confidence to shine through.


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