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.