As I was listening to a seminar tonight I was struck, not with the incompetence or inexperience of the interviewer, as I have been on a few occasions, but with their lack of confidence in themselves and in what they were asking. They almost sounded hesitant to put the questions, which were great questions, out there.
Confidence is a HUGE issue for just about everyone at some point in time in their life.
Let’s start with a couple key tips that are crucial to have established before we could consider talking about confidence in public speaking.
Be comfortable with yourself. If you aren’t comfortable with yourself, you can’t expect others to be comfortable with you. Being comfortable with yourself will enable you to interact better with others. This includes accepting your very minor imperfections 🙂
Stop worrying about what others think. This is one of the most important keys and one of the hardest. We have been trained as humans to value feedback from others, and it is. But to the point that we do things to get a specific reaction is not the point of the feedback. Feedback can help us grow and improve. But seeking the approval of others can totally destroy your self-esteem and is a poor foundation to build your confidence on.
Know your emotional triggers. If you know what makes you nervous or stresses you out it can help you be more prepared to be confident. You can practice in front of the mirror or with a good friend how to work through some of those triggers. Also know if you get overwhelmed or intimidated by others who are well put together or say amazing things.
Never apologize for being you. If you find yourself frequently apologizing for who you are and what you say, this is definitely something you should work on. Not everyone will like you or agree with what you have to say. That’s part of life, but you shouldn’t ever have to apologize for being you.
Have faith in who you are. Don’t judge yourself or say that your ideas are stupid. You are special and you deserve respect. Don’t let others tell you that your ideas don’t have validity or that you’ve not done your best. Trust yourself.
Love yourself. This is probably one of the most important things. It is so important in all aspects of life to really love yourself. If you love who you are it shows! People can sense that you love yourself and that you value who you are. In return, they will love you and respect you more.
If you have built a foundation of love, acceptance, trust in and respect for yourself, you will find it much easier to be confident.