You might think – “I don’t need public speaking for my career.”
But what if I told you your fear of public speaking is costing you 10% of your earning potential?
According to a study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, a fear of public speaking (in the form of social anxiety) may have a significant impact on your career.
In the abstract of the article, the authors suggested that “Persons with average-severity generalized social anxiety disorder:
- had probabilities of graduating from college that were 10 percentage points lower
- earned wages that were 10% lower
- had probabilities of holding a technical, professional, or managerial job that were 14 percentage points lower
than the comparison group.”
This shouldn’t come as a surprise given that nearly every industry involves some form of speaking in front of a group.
But whether your career involves speaking in front of groups or meeting 1-on-1, at the end of the day, it all boils down to your confidence.
In other words, how you carry yourself and how people perceive you.
So in today’s post, I’m going to share with you three techniques you can implement immediately to feel and be more confident in your communication.
Communication Confidence Tip #1 – Body Posture
The first technique is about adopting confident body positioning.
Because when people are nervous, that’s usually the first thing to go.
You’ll notice this. You might have seen somebody speaking or you might have experienced this yourself – where the first thing you notice is either:
- they’ve got their shoulders rounded in, or
- they’re hiding behind a podium trying to get it as a block, or
- they’re taking a lot of distance from the audience.
And as a result, it just makes them look meek and small.
Not exactly awe-inspiring.
One thing to always remember is that your audience is judging you. They’re judging you as you walk on that stage, and they’re judging you as you walk into that meeting room.
All before a single word even comes out of your mouth.
So as an entrepreneur, you really have to be really mindful of how your body positioning is; how you’re walking on stage.
All of this matters, because the audience is constantly assessing you, asking themselves:
- Is this person an expert?
- Are they confident?
- Should I pay attention, or should I not pay attention?
These are all questions that come up in their minds, and your body posture / the way you walk frames the way they experience you, regardless of how much you actually know what you’re talking about.
So, what does confident body posture look like?
It’s all about opening yourself up.
The more confident that you are, the more open you will be because you’re taking up space.
One suggestion I have is to watch the TEDx talk by Amy Cuddy about confident body posture. You can watch that by clicking below:
It’s a very powerful video that demonstrates the science behind why confident body positioning is essential to appearing and feeling more confident.
Communication Confidence Tip #2 – Eye Contact
The next technique is about eye contact.
What tends to happen when you get up on stage is you don’t know where to look.
It makes sense for 1-on-1 conversations. You just look at the set of two eyes in front of you.
But what about public speaking? You’ve got all these eyes on you.
Where do you look?!
There’s two behaviors people tend to default to:
- Default Option #1:
Don’t look at anyone. Avoid eye contact at all costs and just stare into the ground or the wall above everyone’s heads.
- Default Option #2:
Try to make eye contact with everyone.
With Default Option #2, you’re there kind of scanning everybody like this:
You’re gonna look shifty-eyed, and you’re gonna look like a weirdo.
Don’t do that.
Instead, get yourself more grounded by using a technique I call Audience Triangulation.
Basically what you do is you look at your audience and you pick out a few people that you’re going to look at.
What I look for is bright hair colors, bright clothes – something that’s easy to pick out.
And when you do that, you know where you’re going to look.
Plus, from a distance, just like a rock concert, you know when the singer points to the audience, 50 people in error think to themselves, “Oh my God, I got pointed at!“
It’s the same thing when you’re speaking. From a distance, it’s hard for the audience to pick out who specifically is being looked at.
Having said that, it’s still important to make eye contact with someone at each point of the triangle you create with your mind’s eye.
For me personally, what I like to do is put somebody in the middle, somebody on the left, and somebody on the right.
I just pick out my targets in the audience of where I’m going to look.
NOTE: You’re not limited to only three. I just the triangle for demonstration purposes.
If it’s a wide room you can put five people out there. If it’s a deeper room you could do six, whatever you want.
Pick out the people that you want to look at because that’s gonna give you less to think about.
And again, the less you have to think the more that you can connect. So pick out people based on hair color clothes. It’ll increase your eye contact with your audience and allow you to have a deeper connection with them.
Communication Confidence Tip #2 – Breathing
Breathing is important because when most people get nervous, they start over breathing and hyperventilating.
As a result, they have choppy breathing patterns, and that only adds more to their nerves.
I’d like to introduce you to the 4-6-8 Technique.
What that allows you to do is to control your breathing. To slow it down, and get more in a calm, relaxed state.
The more calm and relaxed you are, the more confident you’re gonna be.
Here’s how to do it:
- Inhale through your nose for 4 counts
- Hold your breath for 6 counts
- Exhale through your mouth for 8 counts
The more you cycle through those 4 steps, the calmer your state will be.
I would suggest doing it the night before if you’re feeling a bit nervous, and definitely on the day right before you step on stage.
I guarantee you’ll reduce your stress and become more calm and confident. And as a result, you’ll get up there on stage and share your message in a bigger way.
I use this technique myself and it helps me out tremendously.
Remember To Practise
So there are your 3 tips for reducing your fear of public speaking today.
Make sure you put yourself out there in situations that allow you to put these tips to good use. Remember, knowledge is NOT power. Implementing knowledge is.
Do that, and you’ll be well on your way to earning 10% more.
Level Up Living
P.S. Whenever you’re ready… here are 4 ways I can help you speak with confidence:
1. Grab a free copy of my Speak With Confidence guide
It’s the exact strategy I use to quickly boost my communication confidence whenever I speak in public. — Click Here
2. Grab a free copy of my Hierarchy Of Confidence guide
It’s the 6-step process I use to take clients from anxious on stage to rock-solid confidence. — Click Here
3. Join the ‘Art Of Confident Speaking’ and connect with leaders who are improving too
It’s our new Facebook community where smart leaders learn to level up their insight, impact and influence. — Click Here
4. Join my 3-day ‘Speak With Confidence Program’ and become a Case Study
It’s the fastest way to become a confident communicator… If you’d like to work with me and a small group of highly motivated leaders like yourself… Click Here