Here are three seemingly simple steps that will make you appear and sound more confident. It should be as easy as 1… 2… 3…
Step 1 Slow Down
We have all seen it, the presenter approaches the microphone. This individual has a reputation for being knowledgeable, charismatic and informed. Sure enough, the leader makes his or her presentation, is engaging throughout, uses positive body language, yet when he or she glances at the crowd everyone looks confused and a little bewildered. The audience probably would have responded to the message being delivered had they had time to process it.
Slow Down and pause. The more you pause the confident you appear.
Public speaking is not a race. People want to hear what you have to say, but you have to give them the ability to. When you are addressing a crowd, whether 5 or 500, every second of silence feels like an eternity to you. It does not feel like an eternity to your audience, it feels like a second of silence! Take brief pause, a breath, a sip of water, whatever you need to do to slow yourself down. Your audience will appreciate it.
Step 2 Smile
If you look like you want to be there then you’re half way there. Smiling will improve your confidence, will improve the disposition of your audience, and will improve your speaking dramatically. Smiling is the equivalent of body language 101. Nothing will get the audience on your side faster than an authentic, genuine smile.
So you have to give a presentation to your group today, and you didn’t exactly have a great morning. You had a fight with your significant other, your car wouldn’t start, the bus never came, and you feel a cold coming on. You are not exactly in a smiling mood.
Whatever you do, don’t fake it. You will not fool anyone and nothing spells insincerity like a fake smile. Think about your morning. Think about your kids. Think about how funny Larry’s outfit looks. Think how funny you must look! There is always something that will put a smile on your face, and you are the best person to know what that something is. So think of it, try to put whatever has you upset out of your mind (I know – easier said than done), laugh at how impossible that is, if you have to, but whatever you do… SMILE.
Step 3 Stay Brief!
Stay brief. Keep it simple. Less is always more. Always.
These three steps are not guaranteed to make you a great speaker. Becoming a great public speaker requires a significant amount of time, patience and practice (and training) However, by employing these 3 simple secrets to stronger public speaking, your public speaking will improve, your ability to hold your audience’s attention will improve and you will feel more confident as you speak.