4 steps to building confidence as a speaker

Bolstering your belief in yourself will help the audience trust you and retain your message. Follow this advice.

Confidence is essential in public speaking.

Without it, you can’t connect with the audience, and they in turn will have difficulty trusting or believing what you have to say.

Try these techniques to increase your confidence and deliver an inspiring presentation every time:

1. Prepare with all your might. In addition to knowing what you’re going to say—backward and forward—you must know how you’re going to say it. That means carving out time to rehearse your delivery and identifying when to pause for effect, inflect for impact and answer audience questions. Plot this out carefully and thoughtfully, and you’ll be a lot more confident walking onto that stage.

2. Strike a ‘power pose.’ In Amy Cuddy’s groundbreaking TED Talk, she shares useful information about speaking with more presence. One major takeaway is about “power posing”—for example, when someone stands with hands on hips for two minutes prior to presenting. This simple exercise makes speakers more confident, and the audience feeds off that confidence.

3. Take your time. Speeding through your talk says you’re more concerned about getting your presentation over with than delivering a message your audience will value. Even if you’re nervous as hell, if you mind your pace—taking time to pause, ponder and solicit questions—you’ll come off as relaxed and confident. Plus, your rushing makes it impossible for your audience to retain information; slowing down will ensure your important message is received.

4. Be authentic. The best presentations come from those who are unabashedly themselves—those who don’t take themselves too seriously and can be open and vulnerable. (Check out Brene Brown’s TED Talk for proof.) People pay attention to the fearless.

A version of this post first appeared on the Ethos3 blog.


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