Building confidence in public speaking

One of the most common questions asked by people regarding public speaking is about measures to build confidence.  

Low self-esteem is the most important cause for low confidence in public speaking. Setbacks/failures faced in life, doubts about physical apprearance, voice quality, lack of adequate command over language – lead to a low self esteem and pull our confidence down.  It is important to work on self- esteem.  As self-esteem is what we feel about ourselves, we only can change it. Please refer to the earlier post steps for building a high self- esteem.  

In addition to working on self-esteem, the following will help in building confidence in public speaking:

  • Take initiaitve to speak in small and informal gatherings initially.  Speak on subjects of your interest, hobbies, films/TV shows, current affairs, etc. This will give you practice of putting your ideas in a perspective, and be able to share with people  in your circle. Speaking in small groups in informal settings is an excellent strategy. You will gradually learn the art of putting your ideas in a more effective manner.  Make it a habit. We all can do it on a  regular basis.  
  • Accept speaking assignments such as giving a short welcome speech, a vote of thanks, a farewell speech etc. These are easy to prepare and give confidence to speak in public. 
  • Preparation gives confidence. So, prepare as well as you can. Updated knowledge on the topic of your speech is a must. Think how best you can present your thoughts.  You are prepared well if you have successfully answered the key question: why should the audience listen to me? 
  • Find a mentor. It is always useful to get some help from a person you trust can guide you well, and with whom you can share your inhibitions as well. Bounce off your ideas to your mentor, and seek his/her advice.    
  • Practice public speaking. You are the first audience of your speech. Read it to yourself, and see how does it sound. You can record it and listen it to make necessary corrections in the tone, clarity, speed of delivery, lengths of sentences, emotional appeal etc. You can then do mock sessions with a smaller group: friends, colleagues etc.  Speaking in smaller groups does a lot of good. You overcome fear and build your confidence gradually. 

Finally, just remember every thing is difficult before it is easy.  How did we learn driving or swimming? Initially we praciticed under a trainer for a few weeks regularly and then it became easy. Those who gave up after a few attempts could never learn. Same is the case with public speaking.  Don’t give up, practice regularly and see the difference. Your confidence will grow everytime you speak.

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4 Responses to Building confidence in public speaking

  1. Divya says:

    Very valuable points here. Thanks for sharing. We often miss the wood for the trees!

  2. s.m.mahzar says:

    Fundamentals required for public speaking have been defined well.

  3. Prof. Mohd. Aslam Ansari says:

    Public speaking is like Babies – easy to conceive but hard ( ?? very hard) to deliver.

    People often (mistakenly) consider chatting/ conversation as an equivalent of public speaking. However, it is much more than just speaking in public. People are afraid (some even scared )of making mistakes while speaking in public.
    When you speak, you present a picture of yourself, your personality and your capabilities. It is said that “you can fool the people as long as you keep your mouth shut; the mement you open your mouth, your remove all the dooubts (about you)”. However, making a start (with all seriousness) for public speaking will give you confidence. As one traier(Ben Lozare, a Philipino-American)) had said during one of his training session that I had attended, “Making mistakes is not a crime; but not learning from mistakes is definitely a crime.

    So keep speaking, minimise the mistakes by practice and practice unless you gain some degree of perfection. Nobody is born great ( few exceptions apart) but good public speaking is a stepping stone towards Greatness.

    So keep moving towards your goal of greatness, whatever that may mean to you.

    with warm regards

    Dr. M A Ansari

  4. Mohd Nayyar Afaque says:

    Thanks for such valuable guidance, i am looking for something like this for a long

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