Close up of man with confidence doing a fist pump

Public Speaking Tips: Confidence Really Is King (and Queen)

Mark Steel Confidence

Confidence is one of the most important traits we must master.

I posted an article outlining my four core principles to become a more effective public speaker.

They are Confidence, Practice, Find Your Voice, and Keep With It.

In an effort to add detail, I want to take some time to dig into each of those principles even further.

No confidence? Please put me out of my misery

Every single one of us has sat in a room and had to listen to a speaker that lacks confidence.

Without even knowing it, our brain is registering that this person has a fear of public speaking.

It is something that only takes about 15 seconds to spot.

A speaker that does not believe in themselves or what they have to say is often times painful to watch.

Not because we feel like OUR time is being wasted (though it likely is). Indeed, it is painful because we feel bad for the speaker.

They can’t possibly be having any fun up there, right?

Let’s take a closer look at how we know the speaker is not a confidence problem.

For starters, a speaker without confidence is most likely looking down. Their eyes stay away from the audience, avoiding eye contact.

Next, the speaker is pacing back and forth. Shifting around without purpose.

Someone who lacks confidence is often hard to hear. They speak too quietly, using a slow, monotone voice.

Or the opposite happens, where nerves cause the speech to come out too quickly. Either delivery forces the audience to strain as they try to understand.

Finally, if the speaker is using Microsoft PowerPoint, frequently their slides are loaded with words. Many times they are just reading from the slides.

Death by PowerPoint, here we come!

Both the speaker and the audience want this speech to get over with quickly so the shared suffering can end.

There has to be a better way

Compare that to sitting in a room watching a confident public speaker.

The presentation is engaging and informative.

The audience is listening intently and genuinely connected to the speaker.

The crowd is connected with the speaker and wants to hear every word that the speaker has to say.

An engaged audience participates by asking questions. Most often, they respond when the speaker makes a joke or says something inspirational.

As far as the speaker, they are looking audience members in the eye, building a rapport.

They do not wander on the stage. Instead, the speaker’s moves are controlled and have a purpose.

By using a variety of vocal tones, strong speakers draw the audience in. Being articulate and easily heard is important.

Furthermore, a speaker that clearly feels comfortable with others looks like they are just plain having fun.

The audience will be having fun too.

What a noticeable difference.

The Importance of Confidence

Lack of confidence makes the first speaker afraid of public speaking while being confident is what makes the second speaker enjoyable to watch.

How do you gain confidence in public speaking?

The great news, being confident is a skill. It can be learned.

Just like typing or texting (depending on which you’re best at), cooking, ballroom dancing, or mountain climbing, confidence is something every single one of us can have.

Even better news, confidence is something most of us already have. Meaning, you already know what confidence feels like.

That’ll make it even easier to use that confidence you have in other areas of your life to your benefit. You can learn your skills or experience to help you feel better about speaking in public.

“Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.” – Norman Vincent Peale

Why climb to confidence?

Every one of us can get over our fears, anxiety, and nervousness that we may feel in those public speaking situations.

Additionally, confidence in front of others will benefit you beyond just presentations and public speaking.

Job interviews or career advancement discussions need a great deal of public speaking confidence. As a result, confidence will be the most important quality you bring to interviews.

Volunteering at your children’s school or local community program? Being more confident will make those events even more fulfilling.

All of us enjoy making new friends. Some are looking for love.

Of course, being more confident while talking to people you just met can lead to long and lasting connections.

Whatever your reason for needing to be a better speaker, by learning a few key skills, you will be more confident.

Always bring your confidence. Believe in yourself.

Believe in what you have to share.

You are uniquely unique. Time to let others see that too!

Watch for subsequent posts where I’ll share many practical, easy-to-use tips. These techniques will help anyone grow more confident while speaking in public.