A Confident Speaker Prepares
Everyone in business uses verbal communication on a regular basis for meetings, negotiations, and presentations.
Yet not every business person is a confident speaker.
Knowledge is power and there are a few tips and tricks you can use to feel more confident, credible, and engaged in your business communications.
Craft A Clear Story
If you want to feel and look like a confident speaker, you’ve got to prepare and do your homework.
This means crafting a clear story that will engage people.
We are hard-wired to love hearing and telling stories so make sure your story is something your audience can relate to.
People who are perceived as being confident speakers are the best storytellers because they gain the trust of their audience.
This doesn’t mean you’re perfect.
It means that you are connected with your story in an emotional way.
And if you are emotionally connected to your story – there’s a better chance that your audience will be too.
Know your audience
You must know who you’re talking to before you craft your story. Take into account who your audience is and what their challenges might be.
If you don’t, you may as well be writing a love letter to ‘To Whom It May Concern’.
You will come across as a more confident speaker if you do your homework and know as much about your audience as possible.
If you’re a key note speaker, your basic story content may stay the same each time you deliver it.
But customize it for each audience by beginning it with something specific to that group of people. It will help you come across as a more empathetic, prepared, and confident speaker.
Breathing Is Key
Breath is the cornerstone for all great communication.
A confident speaker knows that not all breath is created equal. Shallow breathing is far less useful to you than a deep, centered breath.
When you center your breath in your lower belly you also bring your focus and attention there. This is a place of power, strength, and balance.
When you breathe from the lower belly, you are more inclined to connect with calm, grounded feelings.
When you breathe into the upper chest and shoulder area, you are more likely to feel anxiety or panic.
How you breathe effects your physiology.
Breath Is Fuel For A Confident Speaker
Your body breathes without your help to keep all your necessary functions ticking over.
But you can choose what kind of breath will fuel your communications. Speaking with a strong, supported voice will help you look and feel like a confident speaker.
The quality of the breath and fuel you give your thoughts, voice, and choices will depend on where and how you breathe.
Rehearse That Story!
Practice Out Loud
Performers have a saying: ‘Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. And then rehearse some more.’ The words you write on the page are always going to be slightly different to the words you end up speaking out loud. It’s the nature of transferring written word to spoken word.
Once you’ve mapped out your story, stand it up and start speaking it out loud. Every confident speaker knows that speaking your words aloud help you get the feel of the structure of your story and memorize the words. As Bob Dylan says, “I’ll know my song well before I start singing.”.
In order to become a more confident speaker, you have to get feedback on how you look and how you sound.
Your phone, tablet, or laptop are readily available sources of non-judgmental feedback. Film yourself for 2-3 minutes, watch it back, tweak, and go again.
A good tip is to be specific about what it is you’re practicing each time you film yourself.
Am I focusing on my vocal delivery? My physical presence? Am I looking at the rhythm of my language? The structure of the story?
The more specific you are, the more value you’ll get out of your practice time.
Take It Live
Find one or two people you trust and get in front of them. To become a more confident speaker, treat this practice run as you would the real thing.
Begin your story as you would in front of the real audience and invest the same amount of passion and urgency into your performance as you would for a live audience.
Make the stakes high. The more real you make the trial run, the better prepared you’ll be for the real thing.
Becoming a more confident speaker means preparing yourself as much as possible for real-time stress.
Hard Work + Action = A Confident Speaker
Becoming a more confident speaker is a process. Confidence is a combination of hard work, repetition, and having a clear plan of action.
As with any other endeavour, change happens step by step, a little at a time.
The trick is to create good habits and consistently make new choices that support your story, your voice, and your physical presence.
Know your story, breathe, and practice, practice, practice.
Your hard work will pay off and who knows… you may even start to enjoy it! Imagine that.
ConfidentSpeak is a specialist S.T.E.M Communications & Coaching Consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland. We work with leading Irish and international companies and executives at home and abroad. Contact us for details on our range of corporate/private programmes for executives, sales teams and technical professionals.