How To Improve Your Confidence in Public Speaking
It is said that the thing that most people fear the most is speaking in public. That is probably so with many people, but it can be overcome by learning what to do and what not to do, so that anyone can gain proficiency in their public speaking skills if they put their mind to it.
Public speaking is a skill, and all skills can be learned with the proper instruction and practice in performing that skill. Public speaking is no exception. People probably have an anxiety about it because they want to do a good job, yet have no confidence in their ability.
So, learning how to have that confidence comes with training and the doing the training. When we have to speak publicly, we can either perform well, or perform badly, and that is the mindset that most people have, and in the back of their mind they feel that that they will probably not do so well.
Fear Can Ruin Your Public Speaking Career
That fear can be overcome with some common sense training and strategies. If you learn them and practice them, you will be able to handle yourself as well as anyone in situations where you are called upon to speak in a public situation.
Acquiring the ability to handle yourself when speaking before others can open doors for you, as having others see your capabilities. It can also close doors for you if you don’t do well. So acquiring public speaking skills can be an important facet of your life that can be both helpful and enjoyable.
So, where does one go to learn how to speak in public. One thing that you can do that is easy, is to enroll in a speech class at a local junior college. This is a format where everyone in the class is probably in the same boat as you, in that they are inexperienced at this new skill, and would like to learn how to speak in public.
Here, you will learn the fundamentals of speaking such as organization, voice projection, concentration, and speaking distinctly. The pace of your speech is covered also. Sometimes when people get nervous, the pace of their speech speeds up, and it can make you difficult to understand. Also if you don’t project your voice, even when talking into a microphone, you might be difficult to understand.
In a speech class you will have to give a short talk in front of the class. Everyone has to do it, so it is not as intimidating. You will probably give two or three talks over a semester’s time.
Another thing you can do is join an organization called Toastmaster’s International. This has a civic club atmosphere, and the purpose is the same as the speech class, in that you will develop your speaking skills by giving a talk in front of your peers. Plus you will meet new people and get used to talking with them and sharing speaking ideas.
You might want to take private coaching lessons, but that is up to your. Most people gain lots of confidence if they take a speech course, or participate in Toastmasters, and private coaching can add lots of techniques to your public speaking skills repertoire. Things like your body language, pronunciation, pace, and learning not to read your speech word for word.
Most speakers will have an outline, or bullet points to give them guidance, but will know their subject matter well enough to speak conversationally about each bullet point.
Practice a lot. Practice in front of a mirror, smiling and looking people straight in the eye. The worst experience can be speaking to yourself into a mirror, because you begin to think how silly you look, but that is not the reality. People who see you speaking, will see a person who is confident and relaxed, and who has information that they really need to hear. As you see yourself speaking in the mirror, your practice sessions will take on a more driven feeling as you perfect your speech patterns and how you stand and look during your delivery.
Work on your posture, stand up straight and breath deeply so you don’t run out of air. Don’t be afraid to gather your thoughts during your talk, and speak at a measured pace, and you will do just fine.
It is important that you know your subject matter well. If you are speaking about a subject with which you are not too familiar, you will need to spend some time becoming well acquainted with the material. Bring out facts that you, yourself would like to hear someone talk about, and tell about interesting points that apply to that subject.
Public speaking is really about being well prepared. When you know the subject matter, and you have organized your path you will take in presenting that subject to your audience, you won’t have any problem delivering the material to them.
When you begin your public speaking experience, you will have a tendency to stay behind the podium or lectern while you give your talk. A podium is a good place to have your notes, but it also places a barrier between you and your audience. Once you gain more confidence you can come out from behind that podium and move around a little bit. It’s OK to carry your notes with you for a point of reference as long as you don’t read off of them word for word.
After you have given a “real” speech or two, you will wonder what all the fuss was about anyway. You discovered that it wasn’t so bad after all, especially when several people come up afterward and compliment you on the fine job you did. The speech class and Toastmasters experience will have paid off with the gaining of confidence and skills that you have developed.
Most importantly, you will have gained the knowledge that you now have the ability to give a speech whenever and wherever it needs to be done. And that ability is something that no one can take away, once you have acquired it.