Public speaking comes across to most people as a daunting task. Here, you will hear words like, “I have stage fright”, “I forget what I want to say when I stand in front of people”, “Please, I don’t want to embarrass myself”.
As entrepreneurs, you may be called upon to share some business strategies that helped your business grow, in front of a large audience. How are you going to do that? The truth is public speaking is fun when we get used to it. It boosts your personality, gives you the power to control the thoughts of people and ultimately builds your network. A lot of important people in history such as Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Mark Twain, Jean Jaures, were as scared as you are now at their first speech in public, but it soon became part of them and they were able to do it with ease and I believe you can do same in time. Let’s look at some of the tips to help you build your confidence in public speaking.
Start with a persistent desire
You have to know this is what you want. It is not about, “Others can do it, why can’t I?” Seeing it as a competition or something you must be involved with because others are will not make you persistent. Think of it as something that is going to affect your life in a positive way and when you do that, keep it up with enthusiasm. Enthusiasm brings life to whatever you are trying to learn. It makes your learning cycle interesting and keeps you motivated. You have to think of the benefits public speaking will bring to you; the self-confidence, sense of accomplishment, leadership ability, personality influence, amongst other things. Philip D. Armour, an American Industrialist who amassed wealth during his time had this to say, “I would rather have been a great speaker than a great capitalist”. Also, Andrew Carnegie, the founder of the Carnegie Steel Company, who led the expansion of the steel industry in America, had written that he would pay special attention to public speaking after retirement. If great men can see the importance of public speaking, I’m sure you do too.
Thoroughly understand what you will speak on
This will further build your confidence and make you talk more convincingly. You can only give what you have. You have to make researches on the topic you plan to speak on and fully understand it to a level that explaining it will be as easy as falling off a log. When you don’t understand what you want to speak on, there is every tendency to get uncomfortable and self-conscious when you face your audience.
Act like you own it. Have you noticed most actors seem to play their onscreen characters in real life? Yes, that’s what acting does. When you keep acting confident, you will get used to it and it will change from pretence to reality. Don’t let anyone see or feel you cower in fear. Stand tall and walk with your shoulders high to the podium. You will get the vibe of respect from the audience as you walk confidently, which will help you deliver your speech successfully. When you get to the podium and face the audiences squarely, resist the urge to tremble, you can do this by stamping your feet lightly or tapping your fingers on the podium, but don’t give in to your nervousness, keep on the act. As a lady, you could flip your hair and as a man, you could place one of your hands in your pocket, just to give the confident look. Look at your audience straight in the eye as if you’re about to tell them an age long secret which would blow their minds. An author once said, “Imagine the audience owed you money and they are assembled to beg you for an extension of credit.” This is sure to boost your confidence level.
In the words of Professor Robinson, author of The Mind in the Making, “Fear is begotten of ignorance and uncertainty.” This happens when you do not practice regularly because you won’t be able to tell the best pose will make you feel confident, or what you’re likely to say that will make your audience warm up to you. Always avail yourself to speak in any gathering, as this is the surest way to practice. You can also practice in front of your family members or a group of friends. This will help build your confidence and make it easier to speak when you are in front of a large gathering.
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