Your lack of confidence in public speaking can impact your performance. Speaking in front of a large group of people can be intimidating, especially if you work in a competitive company. This is not limited to public speaking as actors, dancers, and musicians feel the same way. But, without a doubt, once you've overcome your fear and successfully established your confidence, you'll reap a slew of benefits. It can increase your energy and improve your performance!
But how does this happen? Public speaking is sometimes compared to sports. They, like the latter, are nervous and sometimes fearful of facing their opponents, especially when they are well-known to be good players. But what are they going to do?
They face their fears, concentrate on the goal, and prepare themselves to deal with pressure. This cannot be accomplished in a single night, and it is not done only once. They train every day, do this gradually until they can get it right, and provide an outstanding game to the audience. If your lack of confidence prevents you from giving an effective speech, you can also confront your feelings!
Understanding Public Speaking Anxiety
When you are afraid of public speaking, it is critical to acknowledge your feelings. Fear of public speaking is always linked to a lack of confidence. Anxiety about public speaking has two dimensions:
- Process anxiety - This relates to the anxiety associated with preparing a speech. You can feel the fear creeping in as you choose a topic, organize your ideas, conduct research, and so on before speaking in front of an audience. This fear stems from your doubts about your ability to draft the speech.
- Performance anxiety - This is a more common occurrence than process anxiety. This refers to the fear of giving a presentation before an audience. Some people can write a good speech, but they don't know what to say when they deliver it in front of an audience. They stumble, and they incrementally become embarrassed. When someone suffers from performance anxiety, there is a slim chance that they will finish the speech.
What exactly makes us fearful of speaking in front of a large group of people?
What distinguishes public speaking from our fears of heights, insects, snakes, and death?
- Fear of failure - If you have failed in public speaking, it is difficult to let go of that experience. It can sometimes haunt you to the point where you perceive yourself failing in subsequent speeches. If you imagine yourself failing rather than succeeding, public speaking will be more terrifying.
- Fear of the unknown - When we do something for the first time, we may experience fear for no apparent reason. Doing challenging things, such as public speaking, can sometimes lead to people imagining the worst thing that could happen to them. Inside our heads, it's as if we're fighting a battle between imagining the best and imagining the worst. Knowing what lies ahead is simply taking the stage, so we are afraid.
- Fear of evaluation - How we construct our speech, express our ideas, and speak in front of them can be subject to scrutiny. Because our audiences' mind are not all the same, we know that judgment can always accumulate here and there. As a result, we are very concerned about what they think of us. Thinking that way can lead to fear.
- Fear of being the center of attention - Some people are terrified of being the center of attention. If you are the type of person who does not socialize much, such as an introvert, you are likely to be afraid of public speaking.
- Fear of difference - This fear arises due to cultural differences, in which one believes that one's culture is superior to others. Feeling inferior or different from the rest of the audience can increase your public speaking anxiety.
- Fear imposed by culture - Cultural influences can sometimes play a role in our fear of public speaking. Research reveals that Filipinos, Israelis, Puerto Ricans, and other Middle Easterners are less likely to be afraid of public speaking than Americans.
It is critical to reflect on why you are afraid of public speaking. You can't get rid of your anxieties unless you first figure out what's causing them. Which of these is related to the source of your fear? In the following section of this article, we'll discuss building your public speaking confidence.
How To Build My Confidence In Public Speaking?
Public speaking can be compared to learning how to swim. At first, it might feel scary and uncomfortable, but the only way to overcome it is to dive right in. The rest can be easy with enough exposure and practice. To build confidence in public speaking, you must:
1. Deal with any negative past public speaking experiences
As previously stated, almost every speaker experiences this type of fear. Everyone who has failed has done so because they were brave enough to face their fears. Regardless of the poor experience you had in the past, try not to allow it to affect your current self. It will simply repeat itself if you sit with it for too long.
Instead of dwelling on the past, use it to fuel your motivation and determination. Outperform yourself in your next speech! Everyone can learn to speak in public, but it takes a lot of failures to become an expert. Be confident that you will perform better the next time you take the stage.
2. Make use of previous positive public speaking experiences.
This relates to the first tip. It is important to acknowledge the negative experiences you have had. Still, it cannot also be denied that positive past experiences exist. You may have previously given a speech in front of a larger group of people in a larger venue and been successful.
Dwell on that experience and convince yourself that you can do it much better the next time. It is highly recommended that you write down the things you did well and how you succeeded in every public speaking opportunity you have. Believe it or not, this will motivate and energize you for your next public speaking event. In every rehearsal, read them, and you will do better.
3. Learn what you can, and never compare yourself to others
This is a common impediment to your self-esteem. Comparing yourself to others is the mind's poison. You cannot determine or measure your success by comparing yourself to others.
Comparing will not improve your performance; instead, you will be less confident by focusing on what you don't have. Instead of believing that someone is better than you, always believe that you are unique and that no one else can do what you do.
What causes you to compare yourself to others should be avoided. Instead educate yourself with the tools, techniques, and art of the public speaking craft by observing speakers and reading other great content. Amazon has an amazing library in this regard!
4. Record yourself and make a list of the things you like
Instead of comparing yourself to others, concentrate on appreciating the good things you can do. One of the most effective ways to build confidence in public speaking is to observe yourself perform.
You can record yourself, and in addition to writing down what you like about your speech, consider writing down what needs to be improved. This can assist you in analyzing your overall performance! Increasing your self-esteem depends not on how others perceive you but on how you perceive yourself!
5. Back yourself with your words
Make the most of the opportunity to tell the audience something nice about yourself. This is an unpopular method of boosting public speaking confidence. Most speakers are too shy to back themselves up with their words.
However, since you have the floor, it is never inappropriate to speak about yourself as a speaker. You can elicit a positive response from your audience when they hear something from you. As a result, you will feel more accepted, and your confidence will keep rising!
6. Know the distinction between confidence and arrogance; choose to be confident.
While developing confidence in public speaking is important, you should never lose sight of the importance of being just and prudent. There is a significant distinction between confidence and arrogance. You should not be overconfident to the point where your valuable presentation is neglected.
Your goal should not impress the audience with arrogance but rather connect with them through an effective speech with confidence. Arrogant people aren't concerned with the audience; they're only concerned with how to boost their reputation by being boastful. A negative atmosphere will take over the room when the audience dislikes your speech. As a result, your confidence will begin to dwindle.
It is impossible to develop confidence without practice. You should practice in a private setting where mistakes do not have consequences yet because there is no turning back once you enter the stage. It's like learning to swim and being thrown into the middle of the sea without any life vest.
Like all the expert public speakers, they did not step into the stage without sufficient preparation. Even if you are an expert, you may still feel a little bit nervous when taking the stage. Public speaking is a skill, and like any other skill, such as singing, dancing, acting, or even playing sports and they all require practice no matter how good you are at it.
VirtualSpeech is an online learning platform that allows learners to understand public speaking theory and then put it into unlimited practice through virtual reality or web-based simulations. Check it out today!
Building confidence is a vital prerequisite in public speaking. What you really need is patience and determination. Before you can apply all of the tips on building confidence, you must first convince yourself that you are capable of doing so. Think of positive outcomes before presenting instead of doubting that your negative experience will occur again. Stop attracting negative energy and start attracting positive energy!
For more resources to develop your public speaking skills while you are in the comforts of your own home, please check the Online Resources for Public Speaking and the article, "Where Can I Learn Public Speaking?". In overcoming your fear in public speaking, it is important to be mindful of what caused it. Check out this article to learn more about why presentations makes you nervous.