how to speak confidently

This is the first of a two-part series to help you develop confidence in speaking. This article will explain how to build inner confidence, and How to Speak Confidently Part 2 will address the output of your new-found confidence in public speaking

There are no gimmicks or shortcuts to learn how to talk confidently, but there are practical changes you can make that will help you thrive in the public speaking arena—not just survive it.

By making the effort to follow the public speaking tips in this guide, you can begin to build inner and outer confidence in your communications, become an inspirational motivational speaker and deliver your message more efficiently. 

How to Break Thought Patterns and Boost Your Confidence in Public Speaking

The way you think about yourself and your abilities has everything to do with the effectiveness of your communications in all facets of life. If you think you can’t succeed at public speaking, you won’t succeed.

As you follow each tip, we will take a look at your thought patterns and how you can shape them to build confidence in speaking and in everyday life. Only then can you have effective conversations and deliver amazing presentations!

Tip #1: Don’t Try to Be Anything Other Than Your True Self

Audiences are smart and they can spot a phoney in the first five minutes of your talk. If you do not stand by your values and you cannot project your true self, you may lose the respect and attention of the crowd. This inevitably erodes your confidence. 

The foundation of all public speaking training is authenticity. When you are honest and genuine, you can bond with your listeners and they will receive your message loud and clear.

Tip #2: Write Out Your Fears and Goals

Being ambitious for your life means setting big goals, professional and personal, so write them all down. If you are reading this post, one of your goals is probably to speak confidently in public. 

Make a list of your fears. You can’t nail the challenge of speaking with confidence until you understand what triggers negative feelings about presenting to a group.

Beware because it is easy to make a list of the little things that can go wrong without exploring the root cause of your fears. You may be afraid of being laughed at for mispronouncing a word, losing your place while speaking, or tripping on the step as you take the podium, but why do you worry about these scenarios?

Take some time to think about what causes your sense of dread, then write down and explain these underlying fears. You are the only one who knows the answers to these questions. Have you had a bad experience previously? Are you worried about what people will think of you? Are you afraid of change or trying something new? 

What’s the best way to tackle these fears? Put them in context by comparing them to your goals. 

Goals are usually bigger than fears, so focus on them. Look at where you want to be and write down the things that have held you back from achieving your dreams. 

The result is a list of things you can actively work to improve. Allow the energy you put into this important work to replace the negative thoughts you’ve been having.

Tip #3: Kill Self-Doubt

Self-doubt kills more dreams than failure ever did. Rather than giving up because you are afraid to fail, give up the self-doubt.

This may seem easier said than done, and there will be times when you feel utterly overwhelmed and you want to quit. Just remember that those who rise to the top have had the same kinds of dark moments, but they don’t give up and quit.

At times like these, you must look within and draw upon your inner strength and your determination to achieve your dreams. A big part of speaker training and learning how to talk confidently is to focus on the goals you’re trying to achieve.

Through regular practice, positive self-talk becomes easier and more automatic until it is almost involuntary. With patience, you can make remarkable progress on this skill!

Tip #4: Cut Out Negative Internal Narratives

As you consider how to speak confidently in public, you are going to hear a voice inside your head that spews out ugly, negative arguments. This is your typical human, overactive mind trying to convince you that you might as well not try because you will fail.

The solution is to refocus all this mental energy to stop the negative thinking and replace it with positive self-talk. At first, this can be difficult, but positive thinking is simply a skill you can build over time.

Consciously question what the inner voice says and replace it with positive, factual statements. It might help to repeat the phrase “I love my life!” then identify the arguments that prove the inner voice is wrong.

Tip #5: Give Up Caring What Others Have to Say

“There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.”

  • Aristotle 

Whether you interact with people through a virtual platform or in person, here is the most important thing you need to know about criticism: how people respond to you is a reflection of their lived experience and it has little to do with you.

It is easy to spend too much time thinking about what others think of you, but the reality is that they probably don’t think much about you one way or the other. They are too busy thinking about themselves. 

Public speaker training emphasizes that if someone is critical of something you say, realize that they are filtering your speech with their personal feelings and perspective. The ability to ignore negative feedback is a key strategy in learning how to speak confidently.

Tip #6: Stand Up for Yourself and Project a Positive Image

The last of our public speaking tips drives home the fact that you are knowledgeable about your topic and you have something to say that is worth hearing.

Humility and self-deprecating humor are fine in small quantities to emphasize the point you are making, but don’t let them be your go-to method of setting the tone for a presentation.

To build confidence, present yourself in a way that tells the audience you are worth it, you are good enough, and you believe in yourself. Stand firm, be proud, put your shoulders back, and hold your head high and your listeners will believe in you, too!

What Have We Learned?

Focus on your goals, not your fears, and never give up. Speak to yourself with respect and positivity and ignore what others say about you. Be your genuine self and carry yourself like a winner!

You can find more speaking tips in part 2 of our series: A Winning Guide to Speak Confidently

Take Your Confidence to the Next Level with Our Get TED Ready Speaker Training

Following the tips in this series can help reduce the factors that prevent you from speaking with confidence while promoting the positive thinking that will help you succeed.

Take it to the next level with our Get TED Ready Masterclass

Learn how to build confidence in speaking with an immersive course led by Adam Markel, the international resilience keynote speaker. In this course, he will take you through proven methods to prepare you for any kind of challenge, from giving a TED talk to standing up for yourself at the office.

Register now for the popular public speaking training course, Get TED Ready. If you have any questions, please reach out to Adam directly.