Courage in the Face of Public Speaking

Courage in the Face of Public Speaking
February 15, 2017 Linda Murray

The fear of public speaking is greater compared to the fear of failure or even success.

Whether onstage keynote speaking, in a boardroom presenting, or having a hard conversation on a one-to-one basis, your confidence is paramount. But what makes a confident speaker and what can you do to combat this fear?

The making of a confident speaker

  • Know your material inside out

The first key to being a confident speaker is to know your topic inside out.

If you are speaking on stage, it can often be a good idea to memorise your opening lines. This will help settle nerves and ensure that you can capture the attention of everyone in the room.

When you know everything, you need to know about the topic, it’s unlikely you’ll be thrown by random questions. If you are thrown a question that is left of the field, don’t let this decrease your confidence. Simply state that you will consider the right answer and get back to the person after the keynote.

  • Be yourself

Authenticity is the second key to winning the attention and hearts of the audience.

It can be easy to ‘slip out of character’ so just be yourself. Don’t try to imitate anyone else because very few people can pull it off convincingly.

If you are speaking about something that matters to you, concentrate on the message, not your delivery and your passion will work for you.

  • Connect with your audience

The third key to confidence when speaking is to connect with your audience.

It doesn’t matter if you’re speaking to one or one hundred people; eye contact is vital. Without it, you could be speaking to anyone, but as your eyes meet the eyes of your audience, they know you are speaking directly to and with them.

  • Less is more

The fourth and final key to confidence when speaking on stage is to remember the KISS rule.

Sometimes it can be tempting to pack a lot of information in, which leaves the audience wondering where to start and then overwhelm sets in.

For large presentations, two or three key points explained in a variety of ways (theory, case studies, stories, images) is more effective than downloading everything you know about a topic onto your audience.

If you start with these four tips, you will conquer the hardest part of public speaking.



Comments (2)

  1. Georgia Hollinger 7 years ago

    Whether I am speaking to two, five, or a thousand, and I have (and more) – I have always depended on having a little note in hand of the five PRIMARY POINTS I want to make, and the time limit I have.
    This has served me well, as once in front of the audience, it becomes easier to see whether to stretch a point being noticed, or not, or ask for questions.

    • Linda Murray 7 years ago

      That’s a great trick Georgia. Thanks for sharing!
      I find a mindmap of the key points is also a useful tool. Being very visual, it’s easy to picture it in your minds eye. Tapping into both hemispheres of our brain is a great way to maximise your memory retention too.

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