From an early age, we’re encouraged to speak in front of an audience – it starts with the school nativity or class assembly when you’re asked to read out a few lines. Some children seem born performers and are happy to be in the spotlight; some who might normally appear confident little things when with their group of friends, actually become shy in a wider setting and nervously utter their given words; for others, they look like a rabbit caught in headlights as parents sympathetically look on.
As we go through life, we can make a choice as to whether we put ourselves forward to be the spokesperson for a group, become a debater, chair meetings or indeed whether we perform to a large audience - be it as a speaker or as an actor. Whether it’s part of the job or a volunteering role or maybe a past-time or activity, there’s undeniably going to be plenty of times when these situations might arise. It’s the confidence you have which will determine whether you’re up for the challenge or not.
Where does this confidence come from? Why do some seem to possess it but not others? Is it nature or nurture which determines this trait? Or perhaps it’s simply an attitude of feel the fear and do it anyway – because hey, what’s the worst that can happen?!
Your level of confidence boils down to your self-image - are you capable and are you worthy? It’s whether you see yourself as the kind of person who can confidently put across their point of view in front of others and when needs be, be able to respond to a counter argument.
If you don’t feel you’re this type of person but envy those who are, how can you become more confident?
This is where powerful tools such as assumptive affirmations and visualisation come into play.
Writing assumptive affirmations whereby you already see yourself being confident when speaking with others, or in front of a group or larger audience, will go a long way to the actual event feeling far more natural and comfortable. An appropriate affirmation might be:
“I feel calm and confident when speaking in front of others.”
“My point of view is valid and important and people want to hear it.”
“I enjoy hearing others’ opinions and debating mine.”
Repeated at least twice daily, these affirmations will help to build your confidence and self-belief. Pair this with a powerful visualisation repeated daily - using all five senses to build a mental movie – and you are reinventing yourself as a confident speaker.
Maybe you find yourself in a situation where the job of your dreams requires a presentation at the interview. Perhaps you strongly oppose a local council decision and there’s an opportunity to speak at the next meeting; or perhaps the guest speaker has failed to turn up to the local group you run and all eyes are on you…
Wouldn’t it be great if you had the confidence to get your voice heard? Good news – no one is stopping you. Just you. What you say is worth listening to. Be brave, believe in yourself and heck, do it!
“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” Dale Carnegie