Whether you enjoy it or not there is a strong chance that you will be required to speak in public in both your personal and professional life. It could be a speech at a wedding, presenting your latest case study in a meeting, or speaking in front of a large group of people.
Speaking in public is a common occurrence for many. Despite it being something we do so often, speaking in public is still one of the most common fears that we as a society hold. The good news is you don’t have to be afraid of public speaking and it is a skill that you can improve upon. When we are able to speak confidently in public we are able to have our voice heard.
Why do we lack confidence in public speaking?
It may come as a surprise that public speaking is one of the most common phobias that humans experience. According to Physchology Today many people are more afraid of speaking in public than they are of death. Although not everyone will have a true phobia of public speaking it still may cause many of us to feel anxious and nervous. Some may feel anxiety over a speaking engagement for months while others may simply turn down opportunities do to fear.
A contributing factor in our fear of public speaking is that it leaves us vulnerable and open to the judgments of others. When speaking in front of a group of people we become the center of attention and that can be intimidating. We may be afraid of saying the wrong thing, forgetting what we need to say, or possibly be afraid of looking unintelligent. At the core of our fear of speaking we may fear being rejected.
Although these feelings are legitimate and very real they do not need to hold us back or stop us from living and achieving to our fullest potential. Our confidence in ourselves and our ability to speak is what helps us to move past these fears. There are many tools we can use to lesson our fears of public speaking and they all begin with boosting our confidence.
Why should we boost our confidence in Public Speaking?
You have very likely already spoken in public many times. But how does it make you feel when you do? Some people are energized by public speaking and thrive in an environment where they can have their voice heard. Others become shy, nervous and paralyzed with fear.
When we allow our lack of confidence in public speaking to silence our voice we do a disservice to ourselves and to those who can benefit from our unique perspective and knowledge.
We need confidence in our abilities to allow us to feel comfortable performing a task and to show others that we are capable. Even if you have valuable information to share it may get lost in a poor presentation due to nervousness. Our confidence in public speaking is not only what helps us complete the task but also sends a message that we know what we are talking and belong having our voice heard.
How to boost confidence in speaking
Boosting confidence in public speaking shares many traits with building confidence in ourselves. When we know how to build confidence we can apply it to any aspect of our life. When looking at building confidence in public speaking specifically there are some important strategies to consider.
- Embrace that you may feel nervous. Understand that this is ok and that you are not alone. Allow yourself to feel a range of emotions. Acknowledging that this is a common experience helps us to understand that our audience knows what we are going through and has empathy for us.
- Practice. Practice makes perfect is not the goal. But practice will help you build confidence in knowing exactly what you need to say. If you are comfortable and knowledgeable about your topic it will allow speaking to flow freely and take the burden of forgetting off your shoulders. Talk to yourself in a mirror. Present your speech to a trusted friend or even your dog!
- Get social. Joining a local club or organization such as Toastmasters, can allow you to learn from others and improve your public speaking skills. As with any skill the more you try it the more comfortable you will become. Connecting with others who are also working to improve takes the pressure off and allows you to become confident in speaking in a low pressure environment.
- Work with a coach. A life coach can help you to focus on the big picture and guide you towards building confidence in all aspects of your life. A coach will help you address your unique needs and can guide you as your progress through your specific life goals.
How A Life Coach Can Help With Public Speaking
Working with a life coach can be extremely helpful in boosting your confidence to new levels. A life coach will help support you with your journey of moving past fear and self-sabotaging behaviour to help you achieve your goals. A good life coach is able to work with you and offer support along your path to boosting your confidence and becoming more comfortable with public speaking. Always remember to allow yourself to feel nervous and embrace that this is a natural feeling, get social by speaking outside of your personal or professional environments and practice, practice, practice. Your dog will love the extra attention.