The Secret to Public Speaking Confidence

Dream Big, Execute Small. That was the headline I saw in a recent article. It was addressed to entrepreneurs but it made me think of how true this is for public speakers. You have the dream of one day being a confident public speaker. You yearn for the day that you can stand in front of a group, connect with the audience, remember your message, and make an impact. You hear the thunderous applause and the nodding heads in your imagination. That's the end zone. But getting there seems overwhelming. And this is where most people quit. Some presenters lower their expectations for themselves and only present one-on-one or in safe situations. Others avoid public speaking at all costs because they don't think they can ever succeed.

The reason for the avoidance is a feeling of overwhelm.Nobody goes from zero to 100 in a day. Even the great and gifted speakers spent years studying their craft. The way to get to the goal of confident public speaking is to dream big and execute small.

How do you do this? First start with your vision.

  • How do you want to be perceived?
  • What will the listeners be saying after your presentation?
  • How will you feel after your talk?

Next, break down your goal into small steps. I find that many people who are nervous about public speaking don't know the skills of confidence. You can get learn the secrets to confidence by reading about presentation skills and overcoming fear of public speaking. Visit youtube for instructional videos that will demonstrate each skill. Take a class in public speaking.

Next, volunteer to speak and start small. Redo your voicemail message. Yes, leaving a voicemail is public speaking. Participate in a conference call presentation, a podcast, or a webinar. This will reduce nervousness because you'll be sitting and you won't see the listeners. Then you'll be ready for a face-to-face presentation. But start small. Offer to speak for five minutes as a panelist. When you're ready for the next level, you don't have to go it alone. Ask for a co-presenter. As you're standing in front of the room you'll be less nervous when you and your partner can "tag team" the presentation.

Still not ready to be the main speaker? No problem. Ask to be interviewed on the platform. You can sit on stage while the moderator or emcee asks you questions This allows you to be the subject matter expert without the stress of giving a speech. Another alternative is to plan a Q&A discussion. In place of formal presentation, you can invite the audience to bring questions and you can have a lively question and answer interaction.

Once you get your speaking "sea legs" you'll be ready to step up and take center stage.Effective public speaking is a journey. So give yourself time. Dream big and execute small.

What will you do to take the first step on your public speaking journey?