7 Powerful Secrets For Confident Speaking -On Stage or Online
The first time you speak in public or online can be a nerve wracking experience. A million thoughts race through your head: “What should I wear? Will people think I’m good enough to be on stage or on camera?” and the classic, “I’m afraid of public speaking.”
First of all, you are not afraid of speaking. You have the power to speak and share your message, even if you are not an expert. Think about this for a moment. Everyone can do it unless they have disabilities that prevent them from doing so! We speak with our family members as well as friends on a daily basis without hesitation or worry at all times but what happens when we get up in front of people?
Most of us get anxious and stressed when asked to speak “officially” and in these cases, what we truly fear is that our anxiety about speaking will show. When coaching clients to become more confident speakers, I prepare them ahead of time so they can dodge the most common mistakes speakers make such as speaking too quickly or feeling disconnected with their audience during a performance.
Here are 7 secret pro tips that will help you deliver your message with confidence the first time out of the gate!
1. Breathe Deeply
Under stress, we breathe from our lungs, not our diaphragm, and we don’t control our breathing. Did you know that shallow breathing actually creates nervous energy producing the exact opposite effect of what we want?
To repair this, take a few deep belly breaths before you speak. Breathe from your navel center taking a deep breath in for five seconds, hold your breath for five seconds, and exhale through your mouth for five seconds. Do this three times. (You can repeat during your talk as needed).
2. Slow Down
When we’re nervous, we often speak at a faster pace than we do in normal situations. Also, some people have a tendency to ‘talk the time out’. Either way, it’s very distracting to your audience/viewers.
Of course, preparation will increase your confidence and allow you to be more at ease. But the simplest way to overcome this is to speak at an uncomfortably slow pace. Like molasses in the winter slow. I guarantee that it will feel strange at first. But here’s the good news, it will not seem slow to your audience. Speaking slowly allows them to hear and assimilate your words and they will appreciate that.
3. There is Power In The Pause
I know, I know… you’re thinking, “If I pause, all eyes are on me and I don’t like being the center of attention”. Or maybe you’re thinking “If I pause, it will seem like I forgot what I wanted to say.” Am I right?
But here’s the deal, the pause is powerful for them and for you. It allows your audience’s brains to catch up to you. (Believe me, they will thank you). It also allows you to catch your breath, look at your notes, and even make eye contact with someone in the audience or the camera.
Pauses are a win-win moment. Plan them into your talks and presentations.
4. Connect with your audience
When you fail to connect with your audience, you end up talking at them, not with them.
To fix this take some time to find out a bit about them ahead of time if they are new to you. If you can, ask them in advance what’s on their mind as it relates to your topic. Connecting is simpler than you think and it is one way to show your audience that you care about them. THIS is profound.
5. Less Is More
I get it, we all want to appear smart and put together (welcome to the human race). But in an attempt to appear smart, we often want to share everything we know about a given subject. But flooding your audience with knowledge is rarely effective and they often end up tuning you out.
To improve this, try to focus on one idea, or a few ideas ( no more than 3), that you want your audience to remember. Find different ways to talk about the idea (s). If appropriate, you can tell stories about the idea(s). Believe me, if they want more information from you , they will ask. And the good news is, when they ASK, that signals that they are interested and engaged.
6. Start Strong
It’s not uncommon for inexperienced speakers to start with a boring introduction, or worse, an excuse (“ I’m sorry I’m not more prepared”). First impressions are lasting. Make the most of them in the first minute with a clear, strong beginning. Try starting with something captivating and energizing! This will immediately communicate that your audience is in for something special.
7. Raise your energy
Low energy is almost always connected to fear. But I’m guessing that you want to get your audience excited about your topic. One remedy is to spend a few minutes and remember why you are enthusiastic about your topic. Once you connect with your internal enthusiasm, you will sense the energy building. You can also take a few minutes to move your body, stretch and jump up and down to raise your energy levels. These are simple and effective ways to get energized and appear confident.
You deserve to be a confident speaker. If you’ve struggled with public speaking and being on live video, or just want to make your presentations more powerful and compelling, book yourself in for some coaching sessions. I can help you become the best presenter possible – without having to struggle through it alone! Contact me if I can answer any questions about how this works.