This month, we dedicated much of our social media posts (Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn) on helping our followers build confidence. If you’re an adult, you might say “I’ve got this and I don’t need your help”. If that’s the case, I’m happy for you. 🙂 But not many young adults to adults standing in front of a group of people or on stage will unlikely say the same.
Those who come to me for coaching or training to build their confidence are not lacking confidence in everyday life, they lack confidence during an interview (for university or job), making a presentation or while on stage. It is what you do or unable to do while under pressure that is the difference between a professional speaker and a non-professional.
Here is what some of my students or clients’ say:
“I’m a teacher and I’m fine when speaking in front of my students. But when it’s parents/teacher conference time and I need to speak with many parents, that’s when I get very anxious.”
“How do I get rid of fear when speaking in front of others?”
“I speak in front of people all the time as I’m a reputable doctor, but to keep audience engaged is very difficult for me. How do I keep their attention while I’m making my presentation?
“I want to grow my influence but I get very nervous and I freeze when I know everyone is looking at me. Help me Able!
“I just feel since young that I don’t deserve to be listened to. I was told that I should be quiet to keep peace and not be heard. I need help in believing that my voice is deserving of attention so I can grow my business.”
These are just a few of what my clients have said before they commit. I am glad that I can help many to feel more confident after my time with them.
To speak naturally and to get a point across while you know there are many eyes looking at you is when most people panic, freeze or pee their pants (per say!) when they share their fears with me. And yes, the #1 social phobia in the world is the fear of judgment or rejection.
Above: British International School – Year 9s Students (Communications Workshop)
When I speak to students or adults alike, it’s always the fear mindset that gets to them; not their actual abilities. Some parts of their past or present situation told them to doubt their beliefs or vision of what they can become. With a few techniques through mindset coaching and prep work, I believe everyone can become more confident speakers who can become leaders in their own ways no matter what they do.
What is the 1st technique? Become better listeners.
(Above) Here is an activity I did with the year 11s recently where we played the ‘Telephone game or Chinese whisper’. It’s a game that builds focus while listening and regurgitating a sentence they hear to the next person.
The 3 teams did very well but was off by usually 1 word in a sentence of 6-7 words. They learned that they are to take time, not rush and listen carefully (especially from someone with a strong accent or not strong in verbal English). We played twice and each time 1 team won. They became very serious the 2nd time around where they took their time and switched places! What a strategic and smart group of young adults. I feel so proud of them.
2nd technique? Fear stays. It’s how you transmute the feeling of fear to your advantage.
Another Year 11 girl at Headstart asked me while standing very close to me as if she was a kitten purring for attention, “How do I get rid of fear while speaking in front of people?”
I told her briefly that you do not get rid of fear. Fear is the most basic human emotion and you cannot get rid of it. It’s there to protect us but you need to learn how to turn the feelings of fear into another emotion and then give it to the audience. You turn the body reactions of sweaty palms, red face and shivering of the hands into a calm excitement through meditative breathing or exercise release and then get it out of you within the first 10-15 seconds of the presentation.
When done right, you will release these excess energy and immediately feel more calm after the first 10 seconds.
3rd Technique? Know Yourself. What are your strengths and challenges?
Some people are comedians and they can talk even while they are very nervous and make the audience laugh. Some are naturally confident and do not worry so much about speaking but need to work on the order of their delivery and how they flow. Then some are just plain boring monotonic speakers who needs help or they will bore people to death.
Let me wrap up with this question, “What is your strength and what do you feel you need to work on?” Because no matter how great you think you are, you still can grow in your personal or professional life. Or, may be it’s not the outer aspects that you need to work on but the inner workings of your mind. When you’re ready to dive in, do contact me.
I hope this article helped you and I truly love my work as public speaking is my passion. I will end the journal with this quote from my eBook by Dale E. Turner, “Because everything we say and do is the length and shadow of our own souls, our influence is determined by the quality of our being.”
Speak courageously and think consciously,
Be Heard. Be Able.
Find Your Voice Asia