More and more business owners are trying their hand at public speaking and for good reason: speaking at industry events is a great way to become known as an expert in your field and get your message in front of large crowds.
But those new to public speaking know that it can be intimidating standing up in front of a group of strangers. And when you appear nervous, your authority goes right out the window.
That is why confidence is so important in public speaking. Confidence in public speaking allows you to:
Focus on Helping Your Audience
The number one reason many public speakers lack confidence when stepping on stage is because they are focused on whether or not they will somehow “screw up.” The thing is, you shouldn’t really be focused on yourself at all.
Having confidence comes from focusing on your audience, their needs, their problems and how you can help them solve them. A confident speaker knows the audience members see him as an authority and want him to be successful. His success ultimately means their success.
Be Clear and Concise
Confidence allows public speakers to speak with clarity. When you are calm and focused, you can manage your thoughts better. Confidence also helps speakers speak slowly so they are understood and answer audience questions like a pro.
Create Relevant Content
Speakers can create content in one of two ways
- They can create content that makes them look smart, or…
- They can create content that is 100% relevant to their particular audience and addresses their needs and concerns in an authentic way.
When you lack confidence, you tend to create the first kind of content. When you are filled with confidence, you are able to create relevant content.
Handle Any Murphy’s Law Scenario
It is not uncommon for speakers to have to deal with unexpected challenges before and during their presentation. This could mean tech issues, late stragglers or having a complete mind blip moment.
Confident speakers take these challenges in stride. They don’t panic, they handle the situation like a pro and you never even see them sweat.
Be More Engaging
Confidence breeds charisma, and charisma is something we are all attracted to. When a speaker who lacks confidence takes stage, we instantly sense it and tune out because we don’t want to watch the inevitable car wreck.
But when a confident speaker takes the stage, we are instantly captivated and engaged. We sit forward in our seat and listen to every word she says. Confidence grabs and holds the audience’s attention.
A major benefit of public speaking is that is helps you to build trust with the audience, giving them a reason to check out your products and services further. But what happens when a speaker lacks confidence? They come across as a bit shady or having something to hide.
Confidence projects not only authority but a sense of transparency. Since you seem like you have nothing to hide, an audience is far more apt to begin to trust you and want to find out more about what you have to offer.
How to Become a More Confident Public Speaker
Now that you know how confidence can help your public speaking, let’s look at some simple ways you can begin to build your confidence over the coming days and weeks.
The more prepared you are, the more confident you will feel. Practice saying your presentation out loud. Also, ask some friends and family if they will listen to you and give honest feedback. Should they have some critiques, don’t feel defensive, instead take them to heart.
And one more thing to consider, don’t try and memorize every single word of your presentation. You’re not an actor memorizing a movie script. You’re a topical expert who has prepared an outline so the content can flow and you’re just speaking about what you know.
And this leads me into the next point…
When you try to impress an audience, you are essentially putting on an act, and you can feel not-so-confident in the process. If you don’t believe your act, why should anyone else?
Instead, just be yourself. This will allow you to relax and feel far more confident, because you don’t have to spend time or energy “being” something you’re not.
Don’t Try and Be Perfect
Perfection does NOT exist. Even big named speakers who give TedTalks can forget what they were saying or trip on their way up to the stage. Who cares? You’re human after all.
Accepting your humanity will help you feel more confident, as will focusing on helping people with the information you have to share.
Take Care of Your Health
You have to physically feel well to feel confident. So be sure to get plenty of rest before the big day, eat well, avoid drinking too much coffee beforehand (you don’t want to be jittery AND have to use the restroom), and get a bit of exercise in the morning to release any nervous energy.
If you follow these tips you can’t help but feel more confident. And when you feel confident, the audience will notice and be fully engaged in what you have to say!