There is so much fear around public speaking that I want to discuss how you can gain confidence in your speaking skills. These five techniques will help you improve your confidence in your speaking ability.
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The most common questions around public speaking all revolve around topics such as nervousness about public speaking, fear, being afraid, having anxiety and not being able to get up in front of a crowd.
These are very common concerns, but it is possible to grow your confidence and become an effective public speaker (without the sweaty palms and fast racing heart).
How Can You Gain Confidence In Your Speaking Skills?
Here are the 5 ways you can gain confidence in your speaking skills.
The first way which is actually probably the least effective way and that is to study.
Public speaking is a lot like swimming or surfing – you have to get wet in order to get better. By that I mean you have to practice the skill by speaking in order to get better at speaking.
By studying swimming it’s very hard to become a great swimmer. But studying is still important because we still need to learn technique. So study by reading about public speaking or watching a video (just like the ones on this blog). There is another blog called 6 minutes which is worth a look also.
You can also look at some of the greatest speeches of all time. Go to TED.com and look at some of their best speeches, look at what these people do well and what make a good speech.
2. Just Practice
Practice getting up in front of people, or if you can’t do that just practice in the comfort and privacy of your own home.
By creating speeches, by practicing speeches and by doing public speaking activities that are designed to improve your skills you will gain confidence and you will get better at speaking in public.
3. Get Positive Feedback
Whenever you give a speech try and ask someone you love and someone who you trust, to give you some feedback. Ask them specifically; in what areas did you do well? And in what areas are there to improve on.
Don’t just ask them for areas on improvement because it is going to deflate you. Constructive criticism is great but when it’s all constructive and it’s all criticism, sometimes it can get you down.
When it’s something as emotional as public speaking, ask for praise before you ask for criticism as well. There’s a lot of people out there who are willing to criticise how you speak in public, but there’s not enough people to praise you for getting up there and having a go. So make sure you get some positive feedback.
4. Make Mistakes, and learn from them
One of the biggest ways that I’ve gained confidence in public speaking is that I’ve made mistakes, and then recovered from those mistakes.
I think is one of the biggest fears about public speaking is that if something happens or if something goes wrong, you need to be able to think on the spot, you need to be able to correct that and roll with that otherwise it’s going to be a very embarrassing situation for you.
So by being in a situation by making mistakes where you stumble and when you have to recover, then you become better at thinking on the spot. Then your confidence grows because you know “well if another mistake happens in the future, if another situation comes about where I might not know about what I’m doing or might lose my place, I might get interrupted, well, I know how to handle that and I know I can handle that.”
By making mistakes, you can learn from those mistakes and that will grow your confidence, probably more so than anything else.
5. Record Yourself On Video
Number five is to record yourself on video preferably or if not on audio.
This is great because it trains you how to think on the spot, how to present in front of people, and you can do it from the comfort and privacy of your own home. By recording yourself on video you get that added benefit that you get to watch yourself back.
This builds your confidence in two different ways.
Firstly and probably the more obvious way, is the fact that we see the mistakes we can make and correct them. So if were watching ourselves on video and listening to ourselves we can see when we’re saying things we shouldn’t be saying or making actions we shouldn’t be making. We can then change that in the presentations.
But secondly the reason that this builds confidence is because you know that feeling they have when you listen to yourself and it just sounds so horrible?
Because we perceive the world from inside our mind when you listen to your voice it sounds different and when you’re watching yourself it’s a mirror.
By watching yourself and by listening yourself you get used to the way you look and sound and that builds confidence because you realise; “well hey I don’t sound like a complete idiot and I look quite normal.”
By becoming comfortable with watching yourself and listening to yourself your confidence will build naturally from that.
So there you have five ways that you can gain confidence in your speaking ability without actually getting any better.