The connection between public speaking and self confidence is very strong; a person who has trouble with one often has corresponding difficulty with the other. The secret to improving both is to use public speaking as a tool to strengthen your self confidence.
There are several methods you can use to help you improve your public speaking skills. Start small, and try little speeches at first. Approach the teacher at your children’s school, and ask if you can tell the class a story, or if you can do narration at the class play or a similar event. This is a wonderful place to practice your speaking skills.
Another great venue is a senior’s activity center, or a retirement or assisted living community. The activity directors are always happy to have someone come give an interesting, informative talk for the residents. This is a great way to gain self confidence - they are a very forgiving crowd, and will just be glad someone came and presented to them!
If you are nervous beforehand, practice in front of a mirror, or tape yourself speaking so you can see and hear where you can improve. Remind yourself that if you make a mistake, it’s not the end of the world - and there will always be a next time.
Once you are up in front of your audience, don’t forget to smile and introduce yourself and your topic. Let them know you are nervous about public speaking - odds are every single person in the room can relate, and they are more likely to be sympathetic than judgmental!
Try to avoid reading directly from your notes. You can have index cards to prompt you through each section of your presentation, but the majority of your speech should be memorized so you can look out at the audience and speak to them rather than the podium.
As your self confidence increases, public speaking will become easier. You will be more relaxed, and your nervous tension and self doubt will decrease. The wonderful thing about learning to talk before a group is that the more self confident you become, the better you will be at public speaking, and in turn speaking in public will boost your self confidence .
Once you feel comfortable, you can look into finding a group that practices public speaking, or maybe even join a debate club. Volunteer at your local library to give presentations on a subject you are expert in, or help campaign for a community cause.
Public speaking is a skill that will benefit you in so many ways. You will be more natural and relaxed even in one on one conversations, and your ease will make you more comfortable when dealing with all sorts of situations. Your vocabulary will improve and you will develop a personal style.
Speaking easily and without embarrassment gives the appearance of being well mannered and educated, and people will respect you more when what you say is delivered easily and without hesitation. Your self confidence will get a boost as you realize people are taking what you say seriously!
If your self confidence needs work, do consider learning to speak in public. Public speaking and self confidence are great friends. Support this relationship, because there is no better feeling than delivering the speech of your life!
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