No matter how nervous public speaking may make you, this is a skill anyone can become better at with practice. Public speaking is difficult for a lot of people for various reasons. While this is a normal obstacle, overcoming it is something that can yield an array of benefits.
Many of the leaders we see in the world, whether they are the heads of corporations, managers, or leaders in politics, are strong and confident public speakers. Those who approach podiums with confidence are able to better communicate their ideas to both large crowds and smaller gatherings, and are able to more easily gain respect from their colleagues. By having confidence in yourself, you gain the confidence of your audience.
So, how does one improve? What does speaking with confidence look like exactly?
Work on Your Body Language
So much of your confidence will come across in the way you carry yourself. It may feel foolish at first to practice the way you position your body in front of a mirror, but this is one of the most important things you can do.
While you practice your speech, practice eye contact with the audience. Pay attention to the gestures you’re making with your hands. You want to keep your hands open, not locked down at your sides. Moving around the stage is more natural than standing still, even behind a podium.
It can be useful to record yourself on video so you can actually see how you’re presenting yourself. Do you notice any nervous habits? Becoming mindful of these is the first step in working towards breaking those habits.
Be patient with yourself as you go through this step and all the others on this list. Trust that with practice, you’ll continue to improve. After all, this is a process.
Practice Your Pacing
While giving a speech, it is important to talk at a measured, slow pace. Practice speaking slowly and clearly so you can be heard by the crowd and so that they have enough time to digest everything you’re saying.
You may want to practice mindful pauses. This gives you a moment to calm your nerves by taking a deep breath. If you start talking too fast, this is a good way to slow yourself down. Again, it also gives the audience time to consider your words. It will seem much more natural and thoughtful.
Big Ideas, Simple Words
There is a temptation to use larger, complex words when speaking publicly. It’s natural to want to show off a little, so we tend to fill our speeches with complicated explanations. In actuality, when public speakers use simple words to explain complicated ideas, they seem more confident and approachable. Use clear and simple words to inspire confidence in your audience.