Confident Public Speaking
Did you know that the vast majority of people experience some anxiety in relation to speaking in public? Confident public speaking skills are not something most of us are born with. Even really talkative outgoing people can have a lot of difficulty with public speaking.
I never really understood how difficult confident public speaking could be until I went back to college a few years ago. I am very outgoing and generally both a talker and a very confident person. However, when I started taking speech and other classes where I had to get up in front of a lot of people I panicked. I remember the first little speech I had to do; it was only about five minutes long. I wrote the speech the night before and felt completely prepared to go up there and feel confident. Public speaking however is not the same as just speaking.
I was used to raising my hand and talking in front of the rest of the class, but as I was waiting for my turn, it gradually dawned on me that this was a whole different ballgame. I saw how even some of the most outspoken and relaxed people were no longer confident. Public speaking seemed to be much more of a big deal than I originally had expected. Just moments before it was my turn to go up there I was sweating and my heart was beating like crazy. I felt like there was no way I would actually be able to make it up there, not to mention make it through my five minute speech.
I did make it through my speech, but I would not say I came across as a confident public speaker. I was so relieved after I was done; I just sank back in my chair. After class I couldn't for the life of me understand what had happened. Why was I terrified of standing up in front of my class to hold a short speech, but not the least bit scared of raising my hand and loudly stating my opinion in front of the same class?
I think one of the reasons why so many of us are not comfortable
with speaking in front of a crowd is because of all the "hype"
around the importance of confident public speaking. We are told about
all these ways to learn to hold the perfect speech, and of the importance
of doing this but not that, that we get it in our mind that it is practically
impossible to be good at this.
The truth is that the best speakers out there aren't perfect. They know that confident public speaking isn't about never stumbling on a word, but rather about connecting with people and delivering a message with confidence. The next time you have to speak in public, try to focus on what you want to say rather than on what people might judge you on. Put you energy into knowing your speech and then sharing it with other people. Remember that they are not there to judge you, they are there to hear what you have to say.