I’ve given many speeches in my life. Actually, I started speaking when I was in college by presenting my research to students at academic conferences. I learned quickly that trying to memorize my speeches and reading from note cards was only setting myself up for disaster. My speeches resonated best when I knew my topic through and through and could just talk about my topic as if I were talking to my best friend.
Sure, I could come across as knowledgeable by reading or regurgitating from a script but my audience would be bored and disengaged. I wanted my audience to feel at ease and to connect with me as a person. I wanted them to be interested in what I had to say and to feel as if my words mattered. I learned that the only real way that I could have this impact on my audience was to learn to speak with confidence and presence.
I know that public speaking is one of our biggest fears. It is something that people all over the world, in many different cultures are afraid to do. However, for many professionals, it is the best way that they can solidify themselves as an expert and really demonstrate to the world what it is that they have to offer.
Mastering public speaking is essential for success in almost every professional arena. Here are three things that will help you be able to speak with confidence and presence.
1. Check your insecurities at the door.
One thing is to check your insecurities. If you don’t feel confident in who you are, there’s no way you’re going to be able to get in front of a group of people and start talking about anything. So, if you feel like you don’t have the best clothes, you don’t have the makeup done right, your hair is not together, whatever it is that may be making you feel insecure about yourself, check that. Do whatever it is you need to do to get yourself together and get your mind right so that you can go out and show what it is that you have to offer.
2. Know your topic in and out.
The second thing is to know your topic. If you want to be a speaker and you want to present yourself as an expert, you need to know that topic through and through. You don’t want to be trying to regurgitate some speech that you memorized because as soon as you forget something, you get off track, you’re going to start feeling, OH MY GOD, the butterflies. You don’t want to have that. Don’t try to memorize a speech, just talk. Talk like you’re talking to your mom, your dad, your cousins, your best friends; just talk about your topic like you know what you’re talking about and people will listen.
3. Be yourself; let your genuine personality shine through.
The third thing that you need to do is really the simplest thing; be yourself. Be yourself. A lot of times we feel that we need to project some sort of image that fits into a box, that’s neatly packaged, but people can smell fake from a mile away. You don’t want to be trying to get up there and be anybody but yourself because then you’re going to come across as being disingenuous and no one’s going to be able to relate to you, no one’s going to be able to identify with you and you’re not going to have that human connection. Having that human connection is a part of being a good speaker.
So, there you have it. Those are my three tips for you to speak with confidence and presence.