In the business world, speaking in front of others-whether
one-on-one or to a group-is a necessity. However, many people would
just as soon be hit over the head than speak in public. When it comes
to developing confidence in front of others, I like to think MBA. That's
short for Mind ... Body ... Action. Public speaking is all about coordinating
what is in your mind (your thoughts) -with a physical process (your
body)- and then putting it into action. Here are ten tips for becoming
a more confident speaker.
1. Organize - Outline your thoughts, beginning
with the goal of your presentation. Be disciplined and stick to your
outline. This will give your presentation structure.
2. Spice it up - Like a good dish, every
presentation needs some spice and accenting. A few well-chosen anecdotes,
a well-timed joke, a personal experience, or a fact can liven things
3. Feel the Floor - Before you begin to speak,
be sure that your feet are firmly planted. Making floor contact helps
you breathe better, and provides a sense of strength and power.
4. Relax muscles - Muscle tension affects
not only the way you look, but the way you sound. Lightly shrug shoulders,
roll head, wiggle toes to relieve body tension. Gentle chewing motions
and smiling internally helps loosen jaw and facial muscles.
5. Breathe deeply - Deep breathing relaxes
and supports the voice, improving your entire delivery. Think of your
torso as an accordion which expands with every inhalation and contracts
with each exhalation. Proper breathing also leads to increased stamina,
and prevents your voice from becoming tired.
6. Focus - When speaking in public, concentrate
on the subject of your speech; by so doing, your presentation will be
more focussed and alive. To help focus yourself, before speaking, concentrate
on an object or color you find pleasing. This will help channel your
attention, as well as relax you.
7. Use energy - Energize your speech by activating
your breath and speaking with conviction. Even if you're speaking softly,
make the air between you and your audience vibrate. This will help you
project better, and communicate more effectively with your audience.
8. Add color - Vary the sound of your voice.
Emphasize important words, change your pitch from high to low and vice
versa. Alter your rhythm of speech to add interest.
9. Practice - The old adage, "practice
makes perfect," could not be more true when it comes to speaking
in public. The more you practice in advance and become familiar with
your material, the more comfortable you'll feel, and the more comfortable
your audience will be.
10. Have fun! - Fun is infectious. If you're
enjoying what you are doing, you will automatically convey this to your