How to Boost Your Confidence In Public Speaking

Have you done any public speaking before? If you did, can you recall what happened the first time you spoke in front of a big group? If you have yet to experience any public speaking, imagine you are going to present a topic next week to a group of 100 people. How are you feeling now? If your answer includes words such as "fear", "nervous" and "uncomfortable", it is normal and I can understand that.

Do you agree that we all have fear? In my opinion, fear occurs because of uncertainty. When we are put into an unfamiliar situation, we feel uncomfortable and nervous. This is because we do not have similar experience in the past from which we can utilize to handle the current situation. Sometimes, having fear is a good sign. Suppose you are now at the edge of a cliff. You will not jump off the cliff because you have fear. However, when it comes to personal development, fear can act as a barrier to our personal growth. Accordingly, here is what I will do whenever I have fear - find resources to boost my confidence and take action in spite of fear.

I remember when I first spoke in front of a group of 150 people in 2001, I was nervous and my mind started creating different images about what could possibly happen if my presentation did not go well. As I continue my public speaking journey, I have discovered some techniques that can help to boost my confidence. The purpose of this article is to share with you some of these techniques I use. But before that, I would like to talk about one of my limiting beliefs about public speaking. I used to think that a top trainer must be an extraverted person because from my experience, he has lots of energy to engage with his participants. Some top trainers will even jump on the stage to build energy in the training room. As a result, my belief was that an introverted person would never be a top trainer. This is a logical deduction. What makes the matter worse is that according to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator ("MBTI"), I am an introverted person and I thought I would never be a top trainer. Of course, the fact that I labeled it as a limiting belief means that it had been unlocked. Here is my current belief - an introverted person can be a top trainer.

Now, let me share with you a few techniques I have been using over the years as an introverted-type trainer. Hopefully, you will benefit from my sharing:

  1. According to MBTI, an introverted person prefers to communicate with the others on a topic with which he is familiar. Therefore, pick a topic you are familiar with and you have passion to share with the others. This will be a confidence booster in your public speaking journey.

  2. Over the years, I have consciously modeled different world-class trainers and I believe you can consider following what I do. As a start, pick a few top trainers and observe the way they present, their voice projection and the tonality of the words they used. Also pay attention to their movement on the stage as well as their body language. Practice in front of a mirror and if possible, ask your friends to watch and listen to your presentation so that they can help you to identify your blind spots. On your part, keep an open mind and accept their constructive feedback.

  3. I have found that having a script in front of me would boost my confidence. It is also very useful for a person like me who prefers "Intuition" to take in information as I am aware that I have the tendency to digress from the current topic. The script will help me to stay focused on the current topic and maintain the flow of the presentation.

  4. Treat the participants as your friends. Before you start your topic, spend sometime to build rapport with your participants. When you earn the right to present the topic from your participants, your presentation will be smooth and steady. In addition, keep in mind that you have to continue maintaining rapport with your participants during your presentation and acknowledging their participation. Whenever a participant asks a question, remember to say "thank you for your question" before answering it.

I hope you will find the techniques I share in this article useful. The more you practice, the better you will be as a trainer.