Building confidence in public speaking nervousness

Building Confidence for Public Speaking

This is the third 2020 blog on building confidence. The February blog was titled How to Appear Confident and the March blog, The Importance of Saying Your Name Confidently.

Do you feel nervous when presenting in public? We can all feel this, however, a little nervous tension can enhance your performance.  Yet, on the other hand, too much nervousness can spoil a performance.

Nervousness is a result of fear – fear of failure, shyness, making an error, memory lapse, looking incompetent or foolish.  Sometimes the audience doesn’t know how you are feeling. Other times the audience will know you are nervous because of your physical symptoms such a ‘red neck flush’, breathlessness or sweating. Behaviour can also be a clue that you have nervous tension. Looking at the ceiling or floor, speaking too fast and looking uncomfortable at the lectern are recognisable by an audience.

There are several strategies to reduce your nervousness and develop your confidence. Below are some important strategies.

Attitude

Take on board these thoughts:

  • Acknowledge we all can feel nervous and we can all reduce nervousness
  • Accept that with a little nervous tension, adrenaline is produced and this will enhance your presentation.
  • Remember the audience wants to listen to you.
  • Concentrate on your message and the engagement with your audience. This will take your thinking away from yourself and the fact that you are standing alone in front of people.
  • Know if you feel confident, you will be pleased with your performance and the audience will enjoy it too.

Preparation

  • Know your topic, purpose and subject matter.
  • Know your allocated time.
  • Prepare your presentation based on the fundamentals of speech structure, knowing your audience and presentation skills. Refer to previous blogs.
  • If you are feeling nervous take steps to overcome your nervousness such using breathing and relaxation techniques. Refer to the blog titled, Take the Trepidation Out of Speaking.
  • Have your notes handy, even if you think you may not need them.
  • Remember preparation prevents poor performance and the better prepared you are the more confident you will appear to the audience and the more confident you will feel.

Practise, practise, practise

  • Practise your presentation aloud. Knowing your material well and knowing how you want to present it will reduce nervousness. Familiarity builds your confidence.
  • Practise your delivery at a slower pace than conversational speaking as this allows your audience to process what is being said and assists you to order your thoughts.
  • Learn your introduction and ending so there is no reference to your notes. Speaking directly in a confident manner to your audience will create a greater impact.

Presentation Day

The best way to gain confidence in public speaking is to actually present to a group of people. The more times you present to an audience, the faster your confidence grows and grows.

Important reminders are:

  • Relax your muscles prior to presenting
  • Take your time walking to the lectern; don’t rush
  • Smile, check your stance, and pause before addressing the person conducting the event and / or the audience
  • Maintain eye contact to engage your audience

Build your confidence with a good attitude, preparation, practise and presenting.  At Speaking Made Easy you can practise speaking on a regular basis.                  Come along and build your confidence.                                                                                                                                  

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