How confident are you when you speak in public? Whatever language you are speaking in; your mother tongue, English, French, Spanish…, there are some things you can do to help you speak more confidently. 

Before…

1. Topic

What are you going to talk about?

  • If possible, choose a topic for your speech or presentation that you know a lot about and love
  • The audience will feel your passion, and you will feel more confident… 
  • If this is not possible, research your topic: Use the Internet, newspapers, magazines, library, family, friends…

How are you going to organise the information?

Plan your talk carefully. Every speech should have:

  • an introduction
  • a body
  • a conclusion 

At the end of your talk what do you want your audience to know/understand?

2.  Audience

Who are you going to talk to?

Know your audience.  Your talk will be more relevant and you will feel more comfortable and confident.  Are they people you know? What do they already know about the topic?

3.  Style

How are you going to talk?

  • Learn from other speakers. What is their style? How do they demonstrate confidence?  
  • Show your personality: you will feel more comfortable and your audience will get to know you better.
  • Imitate good speakers but develop your own personal style too.

4. Practise

  • Practice out loud / record yourself with your phone and then watch yourself to see how you can improve… 
  • Practice in front of a friend or family member and ask for feedback.
  • Remember; don’t read, use cue cards with keywords/phrases to guide you.

While…

1. Find a friendly face

If you are feeling nervous find a friend in the audience (or someone who looks friendly) and imagine you are speaking only to that person

2. Pace 

How fast or slow should you go?

  • Don’t start talking immediately!  Pause a couple of seconds, look at the audience with a big smile. Great leaders always do that before they start their speech.  It helps people to trust you.
  • Slow down pause and collect your thoughts regularly.
  • The 20 second rule: Get the audience’s attention in the first 20 seconds when everyone is listening.  
  • Starting with an interesting fact or a story can help.  
  • Jokes are great too!  Do you know any jokes that relate to your topic?  Laughter is a great way to relax you and your audience…

3. Body Language:

The right body language helps you connect with your audience.  It makes them feel special and important and it helps you feel more confident.

  • Make eye contact with audience members
  • Keep your body open. 
  • Don’t cross your arms 
  • Don’t put your hands in your pockets
  • Stand up straight

After…

How did you do?  Reflecting on your talk can give you invaluable information for next time…  

  • Self evaluation.  Ask yourself “What did I do well?”  “What can I improve?” “What can I do to improve it?” 
  • Feedback from peers/colleagues/the audience/experts… It’s always good to get other viewpoints (maybe we are too self critical or not enough!)

And finally remember to say thanks to your audience for listening 😉

Good luck!

Read about 6 ways you can start speaking English more confidently now…