How To Gain Confidence in Public Speaking
A lot of people tell me that they would like to have more confidence in public speaking, or that they would like to be able to “speak with more confidence”. If you ever want to be a “confident public speaker”, then you must know what confidence really is before you embark on your quest for confidence in public speaking. Confidence can only be attained by knowledge, practice, and affirmation. The same goes for confidence in public speaking.
You first must have the knowledge of your subject to be fully confident in it. This goes for sports, work, relationships and anything you need to gain confidence in. You must also practice what you know. A doctor practices medicine and thus gains more confidence in his practice the more he practices it. What you have learned has to be affirmed or confirmed by outside sources to validate your knowledge of the subject. These all contribute to your level of confidence.
What Does Confidence In Public Speaking Look Like?
I’m sure you’ve seen what a confident public speaker looks like – shoulders back, chest out, neck tall, eye contact strong and unwavering, voice commanding and inspiring, body language smooth and free and positive emotions emanating from within. The question is, is this just a front or is it real?
This behavior is the external manifestation of the internal state of confidence. Do you think that if you do the same, and try to perform the behaviors of confidence you will feel “confident”? More than likely, you won’t. You run the risk of simply coming across as arrogant.
Confidence is an INTERNAL state of mind. The behaviors that we associate in public speaking with confidence are external manifestations of confidence. The body AUTOMATICALLY acts in a confident way when the internal state is confident.
The way to achieve a state of confidence is not to just attain an ability to display the external manifestations of confidence only – this strategy is a dead end. If you want to project confidence to your audience, you must access the internal state of confidence. Now the game has changed! How do you access the internal state of confidence on the stage? I will tell you! First, I want to tell you what confidence “is”.
What Is the Internal State Called “Confidence”?
My favorite teacher had suggested a way of looking at confidence, which you may be helpful. Here is what he suggested, there is no such thing as confidence! He considered confidence a privative or something that lacks something else. Like “cold” is a state involving a relative absence of heat. Or dark – a state involving a relative absence of light, he considered confidence simply a relative state absent of insecurities.
Eben Pagan suggested that the state of confidence is an absence of insecurities, fear, limiting beliefs, self-doubt etc. Think of the last time you were speaking with just a few friends and felt extremely confident. I will wager that you felt no fear, no insecurities, no limiting beliefs and no self-doubt. Correct? Do you recall having any fear of failure at that time? It’s that fear of failure that holds us back more than anything else when striving for more confidence in public speaking.
How to Experience Confidence In Public Speaking More Often
Becoming a “confident” speaker is, therefore, a process of eliminating these negative anti-confidence factors. When you eliminate your insecurities, your fears, your limiting beliefs and your self-doubt, 100%, you will be “confident” all the time. I do not know of anyone who is confident all the time, but rest assured that as you begin to eliminate your anti-confidence mechanisms, you will experience confidence while speaking more and more.
I can confidently say that as you eliminate or remove the blocks of insecurities and fear, you will experience confidence in public speaking more frequently and from this new perspective, you have more specific tasks to complete. If you become aware of a specific insecurity, then you know how to become more confident – eliminate the insecurity by first knowing about it and second affirming it, which can be accomplished by practicing it.
My advice is that you take this knowledge of confidence not just into your public speaking efforts, but into all areas of your life because it will provide you with specific actions that you can take to become more confident in any area. But don’t take it from me. Learn from the experts.