Archives For confidence

Give Better SpeechesThe best way to become a better speaker–to learn how to give better public speeches and presentations–is to make more mistakes.

It’s counterintuitive, I know.

You would think that reducing or eliminating mistakes would make you a better speaker. But you’d be wrong…for three reasons.

Reason #1: The Willingness to Make Mistakes Allows You to Practice, to Learn, to Improve.

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Fear of public SpeakingWe’re often told that people’s #1 fear is the fear of public speaking.

I don’t put much faith in that statistic, but there’s no denying that public speaking fills many people with dread bordering on panic.

I’ve been there. Once I was so nervous — scared out of my mind — that I froze halfway through my speech, completely forgetting what I was going to say, and bolted from the room.

Since then I’m more or less tamed my fear of speaking. ¬†Although I’ve given thousands of speeches over the years, I still get nervous.

So that’s my beginning premise. Don’t try to banish all fear. Try, instead, to keep it at a manageable level.

Panic is bad. Fear is disabling. A bit of nervous can be a good thing: it’ll keep you on your toes and add some energy to your presentation.

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courtesy of Neal Sanche at http://www.flickr.com/photos/thorinside/

courtesy of Neal Sanche at http://www.flickr.com/photos/thorinside/

Your credibility as a speaker is so critical that if you don’t have it — if the audience doesn’t find you credible — you might as well stop speaking.

Credibility, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. For any number of reasons, consciously and unconsciously, people decide whether and how much they trust you. They often make snap judgments based on first impressions, which they then seek to confirm or to revise (mostly to confirm) after further experience.

Your credibility depends on three factors.

  1. Your Personal Credibility
    Are you reliable, honest, sincere? Are you a person of your word? Are you, in a word, trustworthy? (Trustworthiness and likability are not the same thing, but they are often linked in people’s minds. If they don’t like you, they’ll find reasons to distrust you. If they like you, they’ll tend to trust you.)
  2. Your Expertise
    Do you know what you’re talking about? Do you have the requisite experience, knowledge, and insight? Do you present yourself and your ideas credibly?
  3. Your Audience’s Judgment
    Their values, their likes and dislikes, their knowledge and experience, their prejudices are what ultimately determine your credibility to them. What makes you credible to one audience may make you incredible to another.

To establish your credibility when you’re giving a speech…

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