There are no shortcuts to speaking confidence.
I use that as the hook to this article because I want to be clear that, while these strategies will help you speak more confidently, they are not tips, tricks, or shortcuts.
Taking a shortcut to confidence makes as much sense as taking a shortcut to run a marathon. You *could* do it. But you are not getting the benefit of the training, and you will eventually be seen as an imposter or possibly worse.
However, there are ways to speak with more confidence. They are long-term habits that you can develop over time and require your time and attention. But it is time well invested as you will quickly surprise yourself with the ease, flow, power, and confidence of your speaking.
Habit 1: Read. Listen. Observe.
I know it is counter-intuitive to give you a strategy on confident speaking that has no tangible speaking output. However, one of the mindsets I teach my clients is that SPEAKING IS A SUMMARY.
We often bang our heads against the wall, frustrated by what we will say and how we will say it. We are reinventing the wheel and taking a chance on whether or not our new design will make sense to others.
When we read, we feel connected to our content and see our message from different perspectives. When we listen, we understand what our audiences are looking for instead of what we think they need. Finally, when we observe others, we watch and analyze how they interact with our content and what is missing from them.
Then, when we speak, we simply present a summary of our work to serve our audiences.
Habit 2: Make speaking habitual.
The only way to get better at running is to run. The only way to improve your golf game is to golf. The only way…well, you get the picture.
Modern technology has created many opportunities to practice speaking in low-stakes environments. Here are some of my favorites:
Create a speaking group!
- Watch my video on how to use speaking stress for success: https://youtu.be/evLToU7s7MY
- Read the follow-up to the video, giving you instructions on how to set up a speaking group here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1eTv2Dyvo8rY-BPc-86mMwPQi1MJ7ayUFWfxiz68_GtE/edit?usp=sharing
Recording a video ONCE A WEEK for someone to watch will automatically improve your speaking confidence. We don’t improve because we don’t practice, and this practice is not only highly effective, but it can be a great team-building tool!
Start a Youtube channel!
Do you want to know how to uplevel your speaking confidence? Post your videos to a Youtube channel. It doesn’t have to be work-related. You can speak on baking bread, video games, underwater basket weaving, or whatever your passion might be.
If you approach it without judgment and expectations, you will find that putting your speaking into action for the world to see is not only vulnerable but also practical. YouTube is a social media platform that WANTS you to succeed and gives you analytics to support you.
Habit 3: Develop Your Own Emotional Intelligence.
Right before the pandemic lockdown in the spring of 2020, I enrolled in an intensive emotional intelligence and leadership program. Having seen my girlfriend and partner go through the program a few months prior, I knew this would be an intensive experience. I was not wrong.
The training is unlike any other I have ever attended. The trainers and coaches were unwilling to sell out on the students, nor were they willing to buy into old stories that held us back. There, I got direct feedback on my ways of being and speaking that many were not brave enough to say to me directly.
The feedback confirmed many of my fears. And it also opened up new possibilities on how I can better know myself to serve my audiences. It was deep emotional work that was very difficult, very stressful, and very rewarding.
The more we work to know ourselves to our core, the more we address our greatest fears and desires. That awareness allows us to step into authenticity, stretch our comfort zone, and speak with power, joy, and…you guessed it, confidence.
Despite 25 years of speaking experience, this emotional intelligence training was by far the most fantastic teacher and coach in how to present to an audience.
Again, none of these approaches are shortcuts.
None of them are simple.
All of them require a great deal of vulnerability.
And every one of them is guaranteed to build speaking confidence.
To see more on this topic, check out my Youtube video on the same message.
#confidence #communication #publicspeaking #storytelling #communicationtrainer