When you speak in public, do you speak boldly? Or do you show signs of being nervous? According to Connie Dieken, former news anchor and author of Talk Less, Say More, speaking boldly is one of 3 ways you can avoid stumbling for words.
In her 4-minute video below, she says:
“Either deliver [your talk] boldly or stay home”
If you’d like to see Connie’s quote in context, you can either skip to the relevant part (3’07”) of her video on YouTube, or watch some or all of the 4-minute clip right here:
Connie’s quote really struck a chord
Connie’s quote really struck a chord with me personally, because after my most recent speech at Toastmasters, the evaluator had encouraged me to speak more boldly, for more impact.
Reducing nervousness and building confidence as a speaker is one of the main reasons many people join Toastmasters – it was certainly my main reason. And because fear of public speaking is so common, it’s highly likely you want to be a more confident speaker, too.
Practise private “power poses”
As Harvard research has shown, power poses release hormones that reduce anxiety and get your brain in the mood to speak boldly – before your speech, and even before your rehearsals.
Note: The research has since been strongly challenged. However, when I’ve tried power poses before giving a talk, they seem to help, so perhaps there’s a placebo effect happening!
Have a clear, concise main message
This lets you easily remember your main message, and feel confident about where your talk is heading. To help keep your main message clear and concise, write it as a single sentence when you start to prepare your talk. (Having such a clear main message also helps you persuade your audience, and of course helps them understand and remember your message, too.)
Use just 3 key points to support your main message
Again, this helps you relax about your content. To keep your 3 points easy to remember, it’s handy to represent them in your mind as either pictures, key words, short phrases, or if possible even an acronym. (If you use slides or a flipchart or similar, show your audience your pictures or acronym or other memory aid. That way, you’ll help people remember your key points, just like you did!)
Rehearse your speech several times
Each time you rehearse, use your slides or other visuals (if any), so you absorb both what you’ll say and how you’ll deliver it. (Video each of your rehearsals, too, so you can see and hear how you come across. With each rehearsal, you’ll likely see yourself gradually gain confidence and effectiveness.)
Start your PowerPoint slideshow automatically (if you’re using one)
That way, you can focus on your message instead of on your PC!
- Join a speaking group or course
A group such as Toastmasters or Speaking Circles, or even a free course on public speaking, will help you build your confidence over time. (If you know of another speaking group, please mention it in a comment.)
For more ideas, also see:
- 10 tips for overcoming the fear of being bold by Olivia Mitchell
- Big presentation? Go from stressed to your best by me, on the Citrix Interactions blog
Over to you
- Which of this post’s tips appeal to you, and why?
- Do any of this post’s tips sound hard to do? If so, why?
- What tips do you use to help you prepare, or to speak more boldly?
You might also like
- Other posts in the Secrets of star presenters series
- Simplify your words – 12+ examples
- How to use quotes in your presentation – 25+ tips from Six Minutes & me
- Boost testosterone – present better! (Regardless of your sex)
- On YouTube: Rick Perry’s “brain freeze” that Connie mentioned
Note: Connie’s quote is the 2nd in an ongoing series of insights and inspiration from expert presenters. Look out for future posts with more wise words from well-known authors and bloggers, to help you present.