If you remember, last week we talked about confidence. Being genuinely confident is easier said than done. Yet, most speakers strive to become that their whole lives. Indeed, the ongoing pursuit for confidence is the one thing that unites all speakers.
Looking around, there is usually a keyword that comes together with the word “confidence” (hint: you don’t have to look too far – just look at our website!). When it comes to confidence, the keyword is “build”. Rather much like how you would build a massive 10000 piece Lego structure, obtaining confidence is a gradual, step-by-step, procedural process. Fortunately, that does not mean that it has to be a slow one.
This week, we’re going to expand on what we mentioned in our first half of our series about confidence. Without further ado, let’s jump right in to 4 ways to easily boost your confidence.
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1. Watch yourself on camera and write down the things you like
Have you ever heard the saying: put yourself in the shoes of others?
Not literally, of course. That would be kind of unhygienic.
But figuratively, what better way is there to get appreciation and insight into what the audience experiences than getting into the audience’s perspective yourself?
When you play yourself back on video, you get to observe certain quirks about your presentations that you wouldn’t have known otherwise. You can identify which parts you are doing wrongly or certain actions which may cause discomfort to audiences - and change them for the better!
However, only reviewing your recording identifying all the things you need to fix is only one side of the coin. It is important to review your footage and identify what you like about your speaking as well. This form of positive analysis ensures that there is a balance, and helps you not get too wrapped up in the negative, in turn decreasing confidence even further! Focus on what you liked about your delivery, and keep in mind that every speaker has their own strengths and weaknesses.
2. Sweat More
If you’re a fan of the gym, this particular tip should sit very well with you. If you’re not, well, I have some unfortunate news for you: exercising regularly is another proven way to increase your self-confidence.
According to The Mayo Clinic, physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier and more relaxed. You may also feel better about your appearance and yourself when you exercise regularly, which can boost your confidence and improve your self-esteem.
And hey, you don’t even have to visit the gym for this. Got some time to spare? Put on those nice sneakers and go for a jog outside (provided the sun isn’t too bright and there’s no haze outside of course). To boost your mood and confidence, Harvard Medical School suggests a moderate exercise such as walking for around 30 minutes; or a vigorous exercise such as running for 15 minutes. And yes, these are on a day-to-day basis.
Not only can exercise directly lead to an improved overall mental state, exercise can also help you perform better at work and during presentations. The better you perform, the more your confidence will increase as a result of your proven competence. For example, research proves exercise can help strengthen your memory, enhance creativity, and lower stress. Manifold benefits indeed!
3. Step 2, but for when you’re out of time
While exercising for extended periods of time is the ideal, you can also improve your mental state by changing your hormonal chemistry in only two minutes. In step 2 we mentioned that an ideal confidence booster is an everyday exercise session. But what if you don’t have the time? Or perhaps you’re reading this right before your presentation is due to begin in 10 minutes?
Hey, we’ve got ya’.
If you’re strapped for time before a presentation, find a private space where you can skip, jump or do some quick warm up exercises. These activities in short bursts can lower your cortisol and raise adrenaline in just a few minutes, making them perfect for a quick and effective confidence boost.
Another useful technique is to practice power posing. Instead of sitting, hunched over your phone or notes during the minutes leading up to your speech, go someplace private—like a bathroom stall or a conference room—and hold a power pose for 2 minutes. Put the awkwardness aside, because I promise, you will feel more confident and more engaging at the end of it.
This is also a great skill to teach your children. By practicing different postures at home, children can begin to accustom themselves with power poses and may even start to subconsciously assume these poses in their day-to-day lives.
4. The Entry
Envision yourself standing behind the curtains. The announcer calls out your name, the lights come on, and you step out of the stage. What’s the first thing you do?
Here’s where many speakers make a grave mistake. You see, a presentation’s success begins with the very first step. If you walk out to the stage with eyes to the floor, arms held close to your sides, and a visibly nervous squint on your face, your audience wouldn’t really be impressed.
But say you take advantage of that moment – that brief moment, where all eyes are on you. Walking out to the stage, you lift your head high, smiling at the audience as you walk with a nice, steady pace. The audience instantly takes a liking to you. You’re bold, and they love it.
What we’re trying to say here is that boldness and hesitation will elicit very different responses from your audience. Hesitation creates obstacles in your path to captivate your audience. Boldness eliminates them. Entering the stage with boldness will also have a magical effect of camouflaging your inexperience and any holes in your confidence. Bold speakers exude presence and command the room; the timid ones fade into the wallpaper.
After the initial entry, start with equally bold talk to appear larger and more interesting—the first impression is critical. Play a video. Tell a rehearsed story or a joke. Make a bold statement about the material you will cover. Audiences love a talk that doesn’t start with agenda (we also talked about this last week).
And that’s it. You just learnt how to build your confidence in 4 simple and effective ways. Confidence is all you need to obtain success as a public speaker. As speakers, or professionals, you should definitely not leave your confidence to chance. This is a responsibility that is best taken on by yourself, just as how you would develop other important areas of your life, so should you place an equal amount of importance on confidence.
We hope to see you again next week!
What do you think about the blog post? Do leave a comment and we will reply to you. You are also encouraged to start a discussion as well.
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