Archive for the ‘Overcoming Fear’ Category

Confident Public Speaking

Sunday, July 5th, 2009
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Speaking with confidence is very important to being truly effective in your personal and business life. Acquiring skills in public speaking can also help in gaining confidence in day to day conversation.
However, there is a stumbling block for many of us. It is the fear of public speaking. But in overcoming that fear it helps with our everyday communications, such as speaking to groups, presenting at work, social gatherings, family discussions, interviews etc.
The skills attained from public speaking such as preparing your speech and presenting in a clear and effective way are the same skills required to being effective in other speaking situations.
Speaking with confidence comes from making the decision to make the first step. The first step need only be brief, you may only give your name and position or something similar and the first bud of confidence will appear. With careful nurture that first bud will bloom into a truly confident speaker.
I have made a number of recent posts on how to speak with confidence:
How to use your voice to speak with confidence
How to use your body language to convey confidence
The importance of preparation and preparation in confident public speaking

Eric Dana Hansen in a comment to my post on how preparation and practice build confidence made a great suggestion on how meeting the audience before you speak can help with overcoming the nerves.
Nerves, jitters or fear felt about speaking in public probably never goes completely away. This is a good thing! As many experienced speakers mention the feeling before they start to speak. However, the feeling is usually not as strong and they use it s a motivation to deliver their best.
Speaking with confidence comes from doing, practicing, preparing and learning the techniques of confident and effective speaking. Most people have the ability within them to become confident public speakers and in conversation. It starts with the decision to get started.

For further information on speaking with confidence please visit to recieve a free preview of The Art Of Great Conversation

How to Use Your Voice to Speak With Confidence

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009
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Your voice is vital to the success of the delivery of your speech. When “nerves” come into play there is a tendency to talk too fast, too quietly and your voice to be high pitched.
Before you start take a few deep breaths to steady the nerves, smile and look up and out at your audience. Adopt a posture as described in my previous post on speaking with confidence. The posture conveys confidence and it helps you to feel more confident and this will be reflected in your voice.
Start out slowly, but not too slowly that it drags. Talk in a conversational manner as you would a friend in conversation. Enunciate clearly but don’t be too precise.
To help in the first few moments when you feel the pressure, have your first few lines memorized, so you don’t have to think too much while you get going.
There are other voice bad habits that can detract from effective public speaking, such as a monotonous drone, nasal twang, a strident voice etc. To discover if you have any of these record yourself while speaking and work on improving any that you find.
Almost all of us have the makings of a good voice if we take the time to improve the quality of it.
Many voice faults (including those caused by nerves) can be remedied by reading aloud. Put feeling into the reading aloud practice, reflecting the emotion conveyed by the words, experiment with words that convey hatred and compare it with words that convey love and compassion.
By using deep breathing to relax, taking a positive confident stance, committing the first few lines of your speech to memory and starting out slow your voice will be steady and convey confidence to the audience. You will be on your way to speaking with confidence.
Practicing reading aloud a variety of materials with feeling will help remedy most faults and help you become a more effective speaker in public speaking and private conversation.

How to Speak With Confidence In Public Speaking – Delivery

Sunday, June 28th, 2009
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Experiencing the jitters about public speaking (or any important occasion) is perfectly normal. We all want to do our best.  Effective speakers have learnt to use the nerves to spur them on to be their best and speak with confidence.
In my first post in the series on How to Speak With Confidence I went through the actions to take before your speak to build self-confidence through the choice of topic, careful preparation and thorough practice.
In this section I am going to run through the actions that you can take on stage to act confident and convey that confidence to the audience.
When it is your time to speak, walk with purpose to the spot where you are to talk from.  Stand up straight and tall, with your feet slightly apart. Distribute you weight evenly on both feet. Your hands should hang at your sides in a natural fashion when you are not using them.  Look out at your audience, smile, pause for a few seconds before you begin. While you pause briefly take a few deep breaths to relax and calm any nerves.
Maintain eye contact with your audience. Each section of the audience should get about the same amount of attention. I know this is difficult, because of what you might see. Force yourself to look at them and you will discover that there was no reason not to.
Your movement and gestures should be made with purpose and be natural. Use both movement and gestures to support and emphasize the point you are making.  Up and out is the best way to think about gestures. They need to be seen by all the audience. Avoid any distracting gestures such as fidgeting or scratching. Let your gestures and movement be a natural expression of you and what you are talking about.
Your appearance should be neat and tidy and appropriate for the occasion. As a general rule do not wear any eccentric apparel. It is your ideas you have come to convey and you do not want your dress to distract from this.
Your facial expression should be relaxed and a natural expression of your personality. If you are sufficiently relaxed your face will naturally reflect your meaning and emotions without any conscious trying.
Confidence is best conveyed by being purposeful and natural while avoiding bad habits such as fidgeting, slouching etc. By using your body in a confident way it will help you to speak with confidence, i.e. to be confident, act confident.
To learn more about how to speak with confidence visit  to receive a free preview of The Art of Great Conversation

How To Speak With Confidence In Public Speaking – Part 1

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009
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The fear of public speaking (nerves, jitters etc) is experienced by many of us. To speak with confidence does not come naturally to us especially when starting out (either in public speaking or present). Importantly it is not a fear we are born with. It has been learnt by us . It is therefore possible for all of us to overcome it. (It is more difficult for some than others, but it is possible).

For the majority, there are certain actions that can be taken prior to speaking that help to build confidence.

If you have the choice, speak on a topic you are interested in and have a good level of knowledge in. It is easier to speak about a topic the better you know it. You will have spoken about it in day to day conversation and you are merely extending that conversation.

Prepare the speech in detail. Write it out word for word, this will enable you to work through the speech and make sure your ideas are fully formed. Do some more research to fill in any gaps in your knowledge. Knowledge is power and more you know on your subject the more confident you will feel.

Confidence also comes from practice. Practice your speech as you can in the manner that you will be delivering it – memorized word for word, reading it aloud, or from notes etc. Practice in front of your friends so they can give you pointers. And if possible practice the speech in the room that you will deliver it. When you come to deliver it for real you will be in familiar surroundings.

The choice of topic, careful preparation and thorough practice will greatly assist you in being able to speak with confidence. In my next post I will discuss tips on platform performance that will convey to the audience that you are a confident public speaker and help settle the “nerves.”