How to Develop Confidence in Public Speaking

Most public speakers stress and struggle about trying to “seem confident” and “look fearless”, irrespective of how they’re feeling inside. But so long as you’re pushing away your fears and nerves, you’re acting, rather than connecting with your audience.

Truly powerful public speaking  starts not with 100% confident public speaking, but with talking from the heart.

Follow the simple steps and become a confident speaker.

Perform

Standing up in front of a crowd takes courage.  But it’s all a performance. Never read your presentation, and never recite it from memory.  Instead follow the audience.  Keep to the structure, and please use all the wonderful phrases you came up with in preparation – but if you get the crowd to laugh, and you can think of  way to take the joke one step further go with it.

DON’T read from a script

One of the key public speaking techniques to develop is that of moving away from a full written script. The best lecturers are those who seem to be having a chat with their students and have a lot of material simply at their fingertips.

Practice

The secret of success in presentations is practice.  You can practice on your own, or with your partner.  You can volunteer to give every presentation at work until you’re fantastic.

Control your nerves

Confidence comes from knowing your material thoroughly; if you are sure that your speech is relevant and aimed at the right level  then you will feel better about delivering it. Similarly familiarize yourself with the room in which you will speak, so you know where the podium will be, how many will be in the audience and so on. Also it’s important to realize that some nervousness is natural and beneficial to you.

DON’T speak too fast

Linked with being nervous is the problem of speaking too fast. One of the most common public speaking mistakes is to speak at a pace that your listeners find hard to follow. To help you to deliver at a natural pace, try not to simply read from a pre-prepared script. Instead, prepare notes and bullet points and have the confidence to speak from these and your memory. You will speak more slowly and naturally.

Eye contact

The public speaker who doesn’t make regular eye contact with his or her audience will soon lose their interest no matter how brilliant the material is. This is because in one to one conversation we would never dream of not looking at the person to whom we were speaking. All sorts of personal cues can be delivered in this way, conveying impressions such as humour and sincerity.

DON’T forget to use visual aids

Giving presentations or lectures is not just about what you have to say, it is important to present visual supporting material too. Depending on your subject, one of the easiest ways to do this is by delivering a PowerPoint presentation. It is important to get your visual aids exactly right. Do not use too many or they will overwhelm your speech and people will forget what you are saying because they are so curious about the images.

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