Jerry Seinfeld once made a joke that most people would rather be in a casket than giving a eulogy at a funeral. That’s quite a choice! In fact, it’s said that three out of every four people (75% of the population) have anxiety about speaking in front of people!
In my role as a speaker coach, confidence is something I see many speakers struggle with from time to time. Is this something you yourself struggle with? By being well prepared and knowing your material, you will grow your confidence. Here are 5 of my 6 tips that I share with readers in my newest book, The Epic Keynote:
1. Know your stuff. I speak mostly to groups of highly intelligent and professional speakers. How daunting is that, right? But every time I start to feel my stomach churn over the prospect of an upcoming gig, I think about how these people typically want to know what I know and that calms me down. By being well prepared and knowing your material, you will grow your confidence.
2. Be prepared – practice. A huge part of preparation is writing out your speech and rehearsing it. Some people rehearse in the car while driving, some in front of the mirror. Just talk it through to yourself so you know your stories well. In coaching we have a term called “in the bones” – that’s when you know something so well it’s in your bones. Once you’ve practiced, you want to let go so it can become conversational rather than stiff. (For more on this check out The Epic Keynote book section called “Practice Makes Perfect, But We Don’t Want Perfect.”)
3. Breathe. Olympian Vince Poscente once told me that when we hold our breath, oxygen doesn’t get to our brain and we don’t think as clearly. That’s why people who are nervous might struggle. Before you go out onto a stage, take 10 long, deep breaths. It will help you stay focused and clear.
4. Get out there and do it. The best way to practice is to get out and speak to anyone who will listen. Find a group or service club where you can practice. Many people join Toastmasters with this in mind.
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5. Don’t let the gremlin drive the bus. The gremlin (a term from Rick Carson’s Taming Your Gremlin) is our subconscious mind. He is back there talking to us, telling us we can’t do it, goading us to quit. If the gremlin takes over your speech, you’re sunk. You have to be aware of him as soon as he starts with the negative self-talk, give him a slap. In CTI coaching we call these “structures.” When you put a structure in place, it helps you prepare for the situation and then deal with it.
What methods or structures have helped you become a confident speaker? We’d love to hear your ideas below in the comments section.
See you soon wealthy speakers!