How to build your confidence in public speaking
By Kit Yee Cheng, Clyde Communicators, Toastmasters International
Glossophobia, the fear of public speaking, is often associated with the uncertainties that come from speaking in front of an audience; you’re uncertain if you’ll dry up, or forget your words, or trip as you walk on stage. You’re uncertain that the audience will listen and enjoy your speech, or that they’ll jeer at you and boo until you leave. You’re uncertain you can deliver what has been asked of you without breaking out in a sweat, vomiting or running out of the room. It is the uncertainties that create the fear – and therefore tackling the uncertainties is the key to breaking the fear and building your confidence as a public speaker.
Here are my thirteen tips to help you tackle the uncertainties and become a confident public speaker:
1. Talk to strangers. Practice your communication skills with strangers. You will never see these people again so making mistakes does not decrease your confidence. When you can talk to strangers about anything, anytime and anywhere, you have mastered the art of impromptu speaking. Impromptu speaking is the key to all your communication.
2. Laugh at yourself. Use self-deprecating humour. Seriousness attracts serious circumstances. Watch comedy movies or TV shows and laugh. This helps to lighten up your mood and brings more joy into your life. Happiness is one of the vital ingredients to building up your confidence.
3. Gain experiences. The more experiences you gain, the tougher you become. This strengthens and builds up your confidence. Learn new skills, meet new people, do something new as often as possible. Set new goals, however small and work towards achieving them. Challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone because nothing ever grows there.
4. Exercise as often as you possible can. This is a timeless classic for tackling fears. Even a ten-minute walk can do wonders for your mood and lifts your energy. Exercise has been proven to release the feel-good chemical called endorphins throughout your body. This strengthens your self-esteem and reduces your anxiety.
5. Practice yoga. The ancient art of yoga helps you to focus on the present moment which is essential to your mindfulness. You are anxious about public speaking because you are projecting yourself into the future. Yoga increases: body awareness, relieves stress, reduces muscle tension, strain and inflammation, sharpens attention and concentration, plus yoga calms and centres the nervous system. Yoga improves your mental health and wellbeing.
6. Practice meditation. Like yoga, meditation improves your mental health. It helps you to: better handle your negative emotions, helping you to feel relaxed and calm, find your inner peace and helps you to feel comfortable with silence and stillness.
7. Practice gratitude. Write in your gratitude journal each day. This is a sound tool to use to shift your focus onto the happy and good things in your life. Gratitude helps you to release envy, jealousy, anger, resentment and mild depression. You will attract more of what you want into your life when you practice daily gratitude.
8. Have fun each day. Connect with your inner child. Be childlike. Having fun is one of the key ingredients to your health and wellbeing. People who have fun compared to those who don’t, are more positive minded. Smile, laugh, crack a joke, be silly and have fun. Connecting with your inner child helps you to face your fears because your inner child is the fearless one. She will help you through the tough times when you are connected to her.
9. Have one day, or half a day a week switched off from social media and the internet. No Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram or the news. Connect with nature. Go for a walk in the park. Listen to the birds chirp and sing. Talk to dog walkers. Talk to babies and toddlers. Face to face interactions with strangers in the park is a tremendous way to get the human connections that you are going to benefit from. You could just sit in the park and watch people.
10. Travel to a new place as often as possible. Get on the bus or train and go explore around your area. You have feet for this specific reason. The uncertainties in life become much easier to handle when you travel to new places. Being in a new place helps you to: expand your horizons, set your soul on fire, heighten all your senses and become alive. Whilst you are at home, you are by default living in your auto pilot. Getting out of your auto pilot system gives you opportunities to see the world from a different perspective. The world has an abundance of beauty so go and see it for yourself.
11. Embrace the uncertainties. Life is full of uncertainties because life is unpredictable. Let go of having to have control in every aspect of your life. Become more spontaneous. Welcome the uncertainties and see where they take you. Cut the cord to the need to have control of your life twenty-four, seven.
12. Join your local Toastmasters club. Toastmasters has clubs all over the world. Our clubs offer a supportive, encouraging and fun environment for our members to develop and master their public speaking skills. Speak to the President or Vice President of Education of the club and ask them to assign you to a mentor. A mentor is there to offer their guidance, support and knowledge of what they have learned from their own journey. They have been to where you are traveling to.
13. Read books on public speaking. Knowledge of public speaking is your friend. You will gain more confidence from the knowledge of the do’s and don’ts. I have found gems in reading books on public speaking and applying the knowledge to my speeches has increased my confidence in public speaking.Social tagging: confidence