5 tips for confident public speaking
By Mirela Sula
If I invite you to speak on stage today, what would be your first reaction? How do you feel about it? Is it your biggest challenge?
Most people would say “I am nervous” – it’s really scary speaking to an audience, no matter how small. I have heard many even saying: “I am scared of public speaking, It’s not for me”. And they try to hide. They feel blocked, hesitating to step out of their comfort zone.
Studies show that public speaking is the biggest fear after death, with statistics revealing that women are over twice as likely to be ‘very afraid’ of public speaking compared to men. For some people the problem is the risk of failure, not doing a good job or looking silly in front of others. This puts so much pressure on public speaking that it feels impossible.
I have been there too. I remember being frozen and feeling lost with no words on stage, and the first fear that would go through my mind would be: “What do these people think about me now?” I didn’t know enough English and I didn’t have enough confidence. Who could have imagined that a few years later I would be traveling the world, speaking and sharing the stage with big celebrities such as Grant Cardone, Robert Kiyosaki & Kim Kiyosaki, Gary V, Less Brown (among many more)?
How about you? If you are feeling the same? Do you feel stuck and scared thinking you can’t do this? Don’t worry, you are not alone.
If you are preparing yourself to become a public speaker here I am sharing some top tips that may help you to be more confident on this journey.
Choose your topic
First of all make sure you choose the right topic, a topic that you know very well, that you are passionate about and you would talk all day long with ease and enthusiasm. If you are new in public speaking, choosing a subject that you are confident on will boost your confidence on the way you speak about it.
Create the first powerful impression
A very important thing as a public speaker is that you need to make sure you connect with the audience. Your communication and the image you present create the first impression – often the lasting impression – on the people you meet. You might be surprised to hear the statistics behind this. Research has shown that:
- 37% of a first impression is based upon the speaker’s tone of voice
- 55% is based on body language
- Only 8% is based on the actual words and their context
So it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. You may invest so much time on finding the topic, preparing the content and choosing the right words. Many people focus 90% of the time there, but in fact they forget to spend time on how they are going to say them?
The emphasizing to the right words
As I have mentioned above, it’s not about the words, it’s about how you express yourself and emphasize the right words, thinking about how emphasizing different words can change the meaning. So, it’s the way you deliver and this is something you can’t learn in the books but by practicing in a real stage.
Perfect your posture
The way you stand and the body posture is very important. Research has shown that spending a few minutes developing a strong posture can influence the brain, making it believe that you are more powerful. Take enough time to think and practice and show it so you become it. And this is what others see.
Bring some facts & evidence
If you are sharing your story or talking about your success then you need to show some evidence: For example you may want to show you have won an award, you have published a book, you have been seen in the media. Also in this case branding association is important. If you have met some celebrities or VIPs, influencers and authorities in your field it shows that you hang around with the right people. Psychologically people associate you with them and it gives you credibility. So this way you build more trust with the audience. Also, as well as presenting the facts, you need to make your message clear and memorable. Have stories to share and ideas and examples that will engage your audience.
Many people are unaware of the issues and they focus only on the content but by bringing these elements in your public speaking you’ll have a captivated, engaged and delighted audience.
If you want to learn more and become a confident public speaker, come and join me and Sami Zaiden, key journalist at Aljazeera. On Monday 5th September at 6pm we will be live. We will start on our private Facebook Group and then invite all of you to join a private zoom session. Register here