If any of these 2 statements describe your current public speaking situation, this article is for you:
- You fear of public speaking makes you nervous and it’s costing you opportunities
- You’re able to share your message in public, but could improve your ability to speak with confidence
The Three Steps Revealed
To start out, Iʼve got to make one BIG assumption. And thatʼs that youʼre able to speak.
If this is correct and you want to improve your confidence, then you have what’s necessary to improve your communication confidence.
OK, here we go . . .
Step 1: Don’t Be Afraid To Fail
Most business professionals either completely avoid or struggle through public speaking opportunities because they get nervous and fear failing.
Why this is a trap: Your avoidance or fear of this opportunity keeps you stuck at your current skill level. Without practice, you will continue to be stuck and others that are more confident than you will pass you by because confidence is a key aspect for business success.
Empowering Reversal Of Perspective:
1. Remove pressure from yourself:
Tell yourself “My job isn’t to be a professional public speaker. This is a skill I’m working on and will help my career.”
Most business professionals put way too much pressure on themselves to be great public speakers, when in reality, it’s a skill that takes time to master, so keep in mind that most of your colleagues would dread to speak in public, so you doing it is already a massive success.
2. Redefine failure:
Is failure making mistakes when presenting or remaining “perfect” by avoiding all speaking opportunities?
You’re succeeding EVERY time you speak in public because you’re gaining experience. With public speaking, there’s no failure, only feedback.
3. Perfect doesn’t exist.
The most limiting belief is when business professionals expect their presentation to be perfect.
They spend hours scripting out their entire presentation, practice for more hours, get anxiety and nervous as it gets closer to the presentation, then they do it and it goes well, but it wasn’t “perfect” so they beat themselves up on all the things they should have done.
I’ve been speaking professionally for years and there’s two things I’d like to share with you:
- No presentation ever goes exactly as planned. This is the beauty of live events and remember, the audience doesn’t remember everything you say, they remember how you made them feel.
- Do your best. This is all that you can expect from yourself, with your current skill set, experiences, and abilities, if you do your best, you have succeeded, there will always be areas to refine so appreciate your current best effort and move forward.
Step 2: Be Polarizing
Ok, so now that you’re not afraid to fail and are embracing speaking opportunities, you want to avoid this next common mistake.
Current situation: You focus on playing it safe, fitting in, and not upsetting anybody.
Why This Is A Trap: People pleasing and “not rocking the boat” represents someone with a weak ego. This common situation occurs when a business professional’s main goal is to be liked by everyone, but this is not possible as we all have our own perspectives and this desire only erodes your confidence.
When you’re not being polarizing and trying to be liked by everyone during a presentation, what occurs is the slightest sign of “perceived disinterest” (such as crossed arms, someone on their phone, “bored looks”) will cause you to lose confidence.
Then, in an effort to “win them over” you will focus your attention on the person with perceived disinterest and try to win their approval.
But they won’t give it to you because you are showing weakness and as a result, the rest of the audience will lose connection and rapport with you because you’ve been ignoring them and you are afraid to speak your truth.
Reality: We are a collection of humans all walking around with our own priorities and perspectives. Expecting everyone to agree is naive and what happens is you become weak in your delivery as your objective is to avoid conflict instead of sharing what you believe.
This turns your communication into a watered-down version of what you believe; you become vanilla, plain, boring, and unmemorable…you’re just another number.
Empowering Reversal Of Perspective:
1. Share your truth:
When giving a presentation this desire to be liked by everyone means you will constantly shift your style to what you believe the audience wants to hear and this will pull you in many different directions to the point that in trying to connect with everyone, you connect with no one. Say what you believe and you will attract those that resonate with you.
2. Utilize the 20-20-60 Principle
This is how you retain your power. You walk into every presentation understanding that you are not there to be liked by everyone and those that “get you” will feel connected…Perfect!
You understand that:
- 20% of the audience will love you regardless of what you say
- 20% of the audience will hate you regardless of what you say
- 60% of the audience can go either way, it’s up to you to win their trust.
3. Embrace Disagreement
You are there to speak your truth and those that agree, will appreciate you sharing and connect with you.
Those that disagree will respect the fact that you have an opinion and you haven’t defaulted to what they’re used to seeing, a spineless speaker that lacks conviction and is so unsteady in their position that a gust of wind will send them toppling.
Be strong in your position. Conflicting perspectives are natural and expected.
Step 3: Be Unapologetically Authentic
Now that you’re seizing every speaking opportunity and being polarizing, it’s great because you’re making progress and being true to yourself, but now there’s another common trap that follows this.
Common Trap: You start hearing negative comments people have about you and it sticks to you like velcro. You feel insecure about speaking in public and question if this polarizing new you is the best way to go, so you go back to avoiding speaking opportunities and being more vanilla.
Empowering Reversal Of Perspective:
If you go back to old habits, you will get a temporary sense of relief.
But this is simply the feeling of comfort as you’re used to being quieter and avoiding the spotlight.
What happens then is you start to miss the feeling of freedom you experienced when you took control of speaking opportunities and were being true to your message.
If people are talking about you…great, it means you’re being noticed.
How to start being unapologetically authentic:
1. Haters Gonna Hate:
As you advance your life, it represents a threat to those that are stuck stagnating away because you’re now proof that change is possible, that they can improve as well.
But instead of empowering them, this makes them angry because you’ve taken away their excuses and the only reason they have left as to why they haven’t changed is that they’re too scared and unwilling to put in the effort to improve their lives.
This hits them hard – the fact that you used to be one of them, stuck, complaining, and now you’re different.
As a result, they’ll say “you’ve changed.”
And you say “Damn straight, I’ve changed.”
In this world it’s very simple. We never stay the same, we’re either growing or we’re dying, you’re focused on development, you’ve made the right decision.
2. Pan for Gold:
In the mass of feedback you will receive, imagine you’re panning for gold.
You have a steady stream of feedback coming into your pan, now you must sift through it to find the gold.
When receiving feedback I pay attention only for what I did really well and specific areas to improve.
All the other feedback like “great presentation” or “very informative” doesn’t provide anything tangible except a pat on the back. Focus on the extremes and implement areas to improve.
So what do you do with the rest?
3. Become Teflon
Understand that the feedback you receive is people’s opinions… that’s all it is. They’re entitled to it, but you ultimately make the decision to act on it or disregard it. If you don’t agree, that’s okay, only you can decide what you take on.
Some of the feedback you will get will come from people projecting their jealousy, fears, insecurities, and failed dreams on you. Again, you’re threatening their status quo because you’re showing that it’s possible.
How do you handle doubters though?
There are two strong motivators I use to push myself forward:
- The feeling of satisfaction I get from achieving success
- The feeling of triumph from proving doubters wrong. I’ve had many doubters along the way and I remember them all.
5 years ago, I was in a start-up program and we presented our business idea to a panel of 6 business owners (this is after working with a mentor for 2 months).
They listened and asked questions, then decided to kick me out of the program saying that it would be “financially irresponsible to allow me to continue.” One panel member even said, “I run a successful website and this will never work.”
In less than 5 years I’ve launched my business, refined it, made over 6-figures a year, and feel like I’m just getting started. This brings me a great feeling of satisfaction and proves that other people’s opinions don’t matter, ultimately it’s a question of you vs yourself.
Ask yourself: do I want to be Velcro or Teflon?
Be Velcro with feedback that moves you forward. And for feedback that doesn’t serve you, be like Teflon and let it slide as you continue to move forward.
Bonus step 4: Stack Your Wins
Reinforce your confidence with your successes. All wins are successes no matter how small or min you believe they are.
Write these victories down:
- You were more assertive in a meeting…success!
- You shared your opinion although it wasn’t the popular belief…success!
Avoid the trap of the negativity bias.
As humans, we’re conditioned to see negative outcomes faster than positives. It’s a combination of survival as we’re always on the lookout for threats.
This is why you must write down and celebrate your successes – this action will reinforce your confidence and allow it to grow.
This starts a compounding factor as every success builds. And within a couple of months, you will be shocked at the successes you will experience because of your newly increased confidence.
And thatʼs really “The Steps To Build Your Confidence” in a nutshell.
Step 1: Don’t be afraid to fail
Step 2: Be polarizing
Step 3: Be unapologetically authentic
The last key is to take massive action now and start building your communication confidence – because trust me – when you get these results that come from increased confidence, the only question you’ll have is:
“Why didn’t I do this years ago?”
Level Up Living
P.S. If you’re interested in taking your communication confidence to the next level, here are 3 ways I can help you speak with confidence:
- Grab a free copy of my ‘6 Steps To Speak With Confidence’ guide
It’s the 6-step process I use to take clients from anxious on stage to rock-solid confidence — Click Here
- 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
- 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