For most humans, public speaking is not something they get excited about. But in today’s corporate world, being able to speak confidently in public is not a ‘nice-to-have’ skill but a necessity. As women in corporate positions, how we present ourselves in front of an audience can significantly influence our career opportunities. Here are a few practical strategies that could enhance your public speaking skills and help you project confidence when speaking to an audience.
Carefully Prepare Beforehand
The cornerstone of confidence is preparation. Preparation gives you a clear roadmap for any presentation you need to make. The more planned and prepared you are the less nervous you will be. Research your subject well, anticipate possible questions, and practice your timings multiple times. Being well-prepared ensures that you can speak with authority on the subject and look like an expert in your field.
Remember To Speak Slowly & Clearly
Speaking too quickly is a common mistake that can make your audience miss important points. Slow, deliberate speech shows confidence and gives you more time to think on your feet. It will also subconsciously make your audience feel respected, slowly down your speech, and speaking clearly without jargon helps them feel calm and in control while listening.
Keep Your Heart Rate Low
When you are nervous, your heart rate will increase, which can negatively impact your performance and affect your cognitive abilities. Practice deep breathing exercises to keep your heart rate low. This physical calmness will translate into mental clarity, helping you to stay focused and better articulate your thoughts.
Maintain an Open Posture
Your body language speaks volumes before you even utter a word. An open posture—standing tall with your shoulders back and head held high—signals confidence. It makes you appear more approachable and authoritative, creating a positive impression on your audience.
Eliminate Filler Words
Filler words like “um,” “ah,” and “you know” can detract from your message and make you seem less confident. Be conscious of these verbal crutches and work on eliminating them from your speech. Practice pausing instead of using a filler word. These pauses can be powerful, giving your audience time to absorb your words.
Create a Strong Hook
Your opening statement sets the tone for your entire presentation. Craft a compelling hook—an interesting fact, a curious question, or a relatable anecdote—to immediately grab your audience’s attention. A strong hook will pique your audience’s interest and give you extra confidence as a speaker.
Check the Audio and Video Equipment
When delivering a video presentation, mastering the technical aspects of your presentation is just as important as your speaking. If recording a speech or doing an online presentation, always check the audio and video equipment before you begin. If recording a video or doing a live presentation you could use a virtual teleprompter, as it can be a great tool to keep your speech on track without appearing scripted.
Incorporating these strategies into your public speaking routine will help you project confidence when speaking to an audience. Remember, confidence is a skill that you can learn and hone over time. With each speaking opportunity, you’ll grow more comfortable and compelling as a speaker, paving your way to greater professional success and fulfillment.