When it comes to finding confidence, speaking in public seems to be an area that people ask me about a lot! As a trainer you would think this is something I am comfortable doing. But working with groups of participants in a training room and speaking to large audiences on a stage with a microphone requires different skills. I am definitely still a work in progress!
I was recently asked to make a speech at the last minute. The fundraising trustee at the Cancer Support Centre where I volunteer had to cancel and as Chair of Trustees I stepped in. When it was over I realized that for the first time I hadn’t been as nervous about it as usual. I had had a lot of support from the people around me before hand, offering to review what I said and telling me I could do it as always. This time though I had felt with confidence that I would be ok even before support was offered. Thinking about this I realized something, when it comes to public speaking I am finding confidence at last !
So what has changed? Clearly practice has a lot to do with it, I used to shy away from the opportunity to speak, but in the last 5 years I have put myself forward more. It hasn’t always been as easy or as successful as I would like, but I learn and grow with every event. I have also developed some good habits when it comes to preparation, creating a skeleton draft, then thinking about the listener and their needs before I fill out the body of the script. I also practice more, sometimes in front of a mirror, to feel comfortable with what I am doing and saying.
So what was it about this particular event that meant my nerves were controllable and I was reasonably “happy” to be there. I can break it down into three success factors that will work for you too.
1. Finding my passion in the subject – I loved what I was talking about and that helped me create a positive mindset,
Think about why you have been asked to speak. What can you say to give your perspective and convey your interest to others?
2. Look for positive intentions in the audience – I was talking to an audience who had chosen to be there and wanted to help us.
Remember in general people want to listen, learn and support. They are on your side, not hoping you will fail.
3. Being myself – I dressed my way and felt comfortable being me.
Own who you are and find your voice. The more authentic you are the more comfortable you will be talking to others.
So look for opportunities where you can, be passionate and positive and most of all have the confidence to be yourself.
Alison Burgess is a Confidence Builder, Trainer and Coach. For more information about building confidence go to the Limitless for Life website, contact Alison on 07931 556 167 or click here to follow on twitter.