There are two little words which can send fear into the most fearless person; public speaking.
In fact, the thought of public speaking is so universally feared that it has even been polled as the most feared thing before death. American comedian Jerry Seinfeld eloquently pointed it out in his acclaimed sitcom Seinfeld when he said most people would rather be in the coffin than delivering the eulogy.
It’s a feeling we’ve all had at some point in our lives: whether it was getting called up to the front of the class to do a presentation as a 10-year-old; being summoned to lead the team’s morning meeting, or taking the stage as a seasoned speaker. The heart-palpitating, dry-mouth, voice-shaking nervousness is not easy to overcome. But right there at that moment, it becomes a mind game. How do you overcome nerves when they seem to involuntarily take over every inch of your being?
It’s the million-dollar question we get asked all the time and we’ve produced a number of videos to help people of various expertise find the confidence to nail a public speaking gig. In the video below, we shed some light on a very useful tip that will not only help you on stage, it will also help you in everyday life.
We only have to look at our social settings to see how being in front of a crowd can affect our confidence and the way we communicate and interact. More often than not, this is where alcohol plays a big role in the wider community. It’s used to change people’s emotional state so they feel more comfortable in settings where they don’t feel 100 percent confident. While alcohol changes the biochemistry by external means, we can actually create this same type of effect, naturally. So you don’t need to do a shot of tequila before getting up on stage to settle the nerves; you can learn some techniques to help you achieve the same zen feeling, without the alcohol.
Be as big as you can
Standing tall and owning your personal space is a surefire way to ooze confidence when public speaking. Posture is a trigger for emotion, so stand confidently to assume confidence and authority. This should be the first thing you do to focus and realign yourself before you make a presentation. A few deep breaths and changing your posture by standing up straight and aligning your shoulders. It’s amazing what this simple adjustment will do for clearing your mind and helping the nerves.
The human body is a biofeedback system, which means if your physiology is accessing the right postural aspects of that emotion, then the appropriate emotion kicks in. In other words, stand up, adjust your body language to own the space around you and confidence will follow. By assuming the position, you can assume the emotion. Simple, isn’t it?
Your posture imparts information about you and how you are perceived by others. It’s a basic body language rule really. Similar to your parents telling you to stand up straight and put your shoulders back as a child. Think of the many great leaders and speakers throughout history. Can you think of one who was slumped over in posture, softly spoken and failed to make eye contact? Change your posture by opening up your chest and standing up straight before any presentation, and you’ll be surprised at how much more confident you will come across and feel.
Struggling to get your message heard amongst the crowd? Join us at The Art Of Influence 1-day workshop and take your confidence skills to a whole new level.
The Colin James Method® coaches executives to improve their leadership skills with a proven methodology. Our coaches are recognised for their experience in their fields and have worked with many individuals and organisations around the world to master the art of communication.