When it comes to great public speaking, confidence is king. This is true of virtually anything, but when it comes to being great in presentations, there’s nothing that can set one apart like confidence, but where does it come from?
In one of my favorite Facebook videos last week, Grant Cardone made the point that confidence is built by doing what makes you uncomfortable over and over again.
I would argue that this is true, but only partly so. Being scared to be on stage and going anyway will make you more confident, on stage. I’m not saying that the confidence built there won’t transfer, I’m saying that it’s only part of the equation. For my money, confidence is built in the following ways:
Keeping Commitments Made To Yourself
When I lost 100 pounds, I noticed that I had more confidence in every area of my life. Was it because I looked better in my clothes? Maybe, but it had more to do with the fact that I had proven to myself that I could keep a commitment to myself. Every time I followed through on my diet or went to the gym, I proved to myself that I keep my promises. This is a kind of confidence that transfers to every thing.
In many ways, confidence comes from knowing that you’re prepared to speak. I’m not talking about a script to be read. I’m talking about knowing what it is you want your audience to remember and the story that you want to tell. Knowing you gave it your best in preparing for your presentation will give you confidence when you walk to the front of the room. Like the old saying goes, proper preparation prevents poor performance.
Knowing Your Audience
This might seem like an extension of being prepared, but it deserves to be mentioned on it’s own. When we know who will be listening to us and what they’re expecting, we can develop a strategy to meet that expectation. With the proper strategy, we will walk to into the room with confidence. Knowing your audience will also give you the confidence of knowing that your material has been tailored to their needs and that you should be able to find a friendly face. Know who you will be addressing, and it will make you instantly more confident.
Looking The Part
It may seem silly, but I see the suit that I wear every day as my modern day suit of armor. When I put it on, I feel bulletproof. Looking the part lets your audience know that you’re a professional, but more importantly, it lets you know it too. It might not be a suit for you, but make sure the fit is right and that whatever you put on, it gives you the bulletproof feeling of looking like a professional.
Do What You Fear
As Mr. Cardone mentioned, doing the thing you fear will make you conquer it. There’s a reason The Dale Carnegie Course has changed so many lives in the last 80 years. It forces people to get in front of their fears twice a week and talk and everyone feels some fear of doing this. When fear is conquered, confidence follows. I save it until last because it has to be a part of a bigger strategy. Getting up in front of the room unprepared and getting laughed at, will not make anyone more confident. However, following the other steps and then making the leap, will build tremendous amounts of confidence every time.
No matter the challenge, confidence is king when it comes to becoming great. If you want to become a great pubic speaker, I highly recommend keeping the commitments you make to yourself, being prepared, knowing your audience, looking the part and slaying your dragons. Your confidence will skyrocket and your performance will go with it.
To help you prepare, look for my Presentation Preparation Cheat Sheet available for download later today!