How can we speak up and be confident? I used to be terrified to speak in front of people. I was afraid of forgetting things that I wanted to say, looking like I didn’t know what I was talking about, being incorrect, and more. I’m still sometimes nervous before I speak, but I’ve learned over time that if I prepare myself with tools, I am much less nervous and I have reminders to help calm me down. There are so many fears that like to come in and prevent our authentic self from being seen. In ancient times, this was in place for a reason, it was an instinct for survival when coming out from the group might mean danger. Now, we still want to fight or flee when it comes to speaking our truth and coming out from the group, when that’s no longer the necessary response. It’s become an ingrained, subconscious habit. So how do we break this habitual response? Here are several helpful tips that can assist you in speaking more confidently.
- The first step is becoming aware of our fears. They probably sound like this: “What if I speak and they think I’m an idiot or that I don’t know how to do something? What if I speak and they think I’m wrong?” Just having an awareness of our thoughts allows us to look at them and decide if they are helping us or hurting us.
- Ask someone you trust to provide you with feedback on what you’d like to speak up about. Feedback from a trusted source can be a great way to boost our confidence. Practice with a trusted colleague and ask for feedback on how you can improve.
- Think about times you are comfortable speaking up and how that makes you feel. Envision the possibility of speaking up and then looking back at the positive result of being authentically you. Often elevating our situation to look at the good we are already capable of or could be capable of gives us just the boost we need to be more confident.
- Write down your thoughts before you share them. It helps to eliminate nervousness of not remembering what you want to say and assists with speaking without stumbling. It’s ok to read what you want to say if you need to.
- Define your “Why” clearly before speaking. Ask yourself why it’s worth getting past your nerves to speak your truth. Ask who and what you will be inspiring by sharing your story and ideas. When you are convicted on your purpose, it is much easier to move past the nerves to deliver the message. This keeps the end game in mind.
- Perfection is the enemy of progress. One of the biggest things about anything we want to achieve is remembering that if we are stuck in trying to be perfect, nothing moves forward. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Do the thing and you will have the power.” Try taking one small step by speaking up about one thing at your next meeting or family gathering. Pretty soon, you’ll be a pro!
- Focus on facts on emotions. It’s easier to be convicted and confident when you have information to back it up. It’s ok to lead with emotion to hook the audience’s attention and connect to them by a piece of your personal story, but when seeking to send a strong message, facts will win the day!
- Try to remain unattached to the outcome or opinions of others. This is much easier said than done, but if you are truly being you and you are clear on your why, remember that you will be happiest when being yourself! Release the expectations and you’ll be much more apt to deliver confidently.
- Choose an icon or someone you admire that is confident in this area and act like them! Once you speak up a few times and have a good result by doing this, you’ll be more confident than ever!
- Be an advocate for others and help them speak up. When you are helping others, it empowers you to be a bit bolder.
- Each of us possesses our own unique wisdom and ability to share. Your colleagues and relationships will be much richer if you can practice an incantation that supports this view. Before you go into a speaking engagement or meeting, try saying something like, “I am an incredible speaker,” or “I am here to help women be unlimited and heart-centered. I am a great coach! If you follow an opinion with your “why”, it prompts others to listen more intently.
Now that you have some tools in your toolbelt, it’s time to get out there and practice. Perfection is the enemy of progress! Keep your focus on progress not perfection and each time you speak up or in front of people give yourself a compliment, note what went well, and celebrate after. You will learn something each time you do it!