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5 Ways to Start Building Social Confidence Today

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5 Ways to Start Building Social Confidence Today

Why are you so shy?
Why are you so quiet?
Why are you so emotional?
Are you upset?

Do people ask you those questions all the time? If the answer is yes, please keep reading, because I am going to change your life.

From experience, I have been asked those questions a lot. I was a very shy guy in the past, as I have no idea how to open up to people. Talking to strangers was like seeing Jesus and Allah at the same time—I was always at a loss of words.

I felt nervous. I felt like I might say something stupid, so I didn’t speak. I also felt that I should always say something that sounded smart or funny so that I’d please other people. But then I changed.

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These tips are not just about being sociable. They can change your whole life in every aspect; they can make you a more confident person, an attractive person, a better leader, a better entrepreneur, and more, because it just keeps getting better once you are socially confident or confident in general. These are the important tips which changed my life and can change your life by helping you transform from being a shy person to a socially confident person.

1. Improve yourself in all aspects to build your overall confidence.

The whole idea is simple: just become a better version of yourself. You need to achieve more, become better or do anything that will make you proud of yourself. Confidence is something you have to build over time. It is built through hard work. You can start working out and have a better physique. You can take up dance lessons. You can start earning more money. You can do all kind of things which you think will make you more socially accepted. Confidence typically comes from acceptance by society. To be accepted by society, you will have to provide value.

Anything can be of value. For example: love, money or anything that is deemed to be worthy to others. Having a good physique makes you attractive and attraction is a kind of value. Being funny makes other people laugh, so that is value as well. So, the key is to improve yourself so that you can provide value which will be socially accepted. Acceptance is what will help you become confident gradually.

Just imagine a rich, good-looking guy with a nice physique; what are the chances of him being a person who has low self esteem? It’s more about the mindset and attitude! So, just remember: provide value. The world is harsh. Everyone only cares about people who can be of value to them.

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2. Stop taking yourself so seriously.

If you are shy, chances are, you are taking yourself too seriously. Ask yourself: are you always feeling offended by little things, or do you feel the need to defend yourself when someone says something negative about you? If yes, you need to chill. You need to know that there are some things in the world, such as others’ opinions, that you cannot control.

Of course, I am not telling you to be ignorant and continue being idiotic, if you are. However, usually when people tease you, they are just making a joke. Even if they are laughing at you, they probably don’t really mean to hurt you. They just want a laugh. That’s all. There will always be jerks or toxic people, but if you truly do not take yourself seriously, you won’t be affected by them that much. Trust me. I have been there, and I am here now.

The trick here is to just start by laughing it off. Chances are, you are not going to be really laughing genuinely at first. You are probably taking others’ words seriously due to insecurities. So, build your confidence and in the meantime, practice laughing at everything! I am not telling you to laugh at every thing you see—you definitely need to know when it is the right place and time. For example, laugh when someone makes fun of your age group. Whether or not they are right doesn’t matter—they’re probably just joking.

And even if they mean it, you have to learn to accept yourself for who you are and keep improving yourself; then you will be free from your insecurities eventually. And if your close friend’s mother just passed away or if someone is being very serious with you, please do not laugh! You’ll be able to understand when it is appropriate—I believe shy people are generally smart people.

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3. Stop judging what you say.

Are you someone who always feel that you have nothing to say? Do this one little thing: stop filtering what you say. Just say whatever is on your mind. Do not judge what you say negatively! Remember this: if you frequently judge your own words as rubbish and assume that no one will like what you say, you are disillusioned by your own thoughts. Say whatever you feel like saying. It’s not about what you do; it’s about why you do what you do.

This can be applied to what you say as well. For example, during a conversation about September 11, you could say something like “my dog passed away last year.” Is that relevant? Maybe. Is that stupid? Maybe. But it’s really okay to say stupid stuff. Applying the theory of “it’s about why you say what you say,” people might become interested in why you are saying those things, whether they are weird or not.

Every word you say is of value. You might feel stupid at first, but slowly, you will begin to stop judging yourself and say things more confidently. People may even find what you have to say funny and grow to love you! People generally like others who open up to them. They will feel that you aren’t hiding anything from them, and they will feel a sense of closeness with you when you open up to them. You will feel more comfortable speaking to them too! Just remember: don’t filter and judge what you say; you will see the greatest difference in your social confidence over time!

4. Don’t give a sh*t about anything!

This is one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever gotten. It is a combination of both the second and third point. In order to not give a crap about anything, you need to have the attitude that you’ve got nothing to lose. And that is true. Life is full of uncertainties. Things just come and go. Keep in mind, though, that it is important that you don’t just throw your life away. You need to have your own priorities! For example, my priorities are my relationships, my health, and my money. I will cherish the things I prioritize, and I do my best to never let them go.

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When it comes to everything else, I don’t give a crap! When you care less, since you know you’ve got nothing to lose, you feel more relaxed. You take things that are not priorities less seriously. When you do that, you have fewer insecurities, because even if you suck at some things, you don’t really feel ashamed because you just really don’t give a crap about those things!

Focus on building what you prioritize, and stop caring so much about other minor things. You will feel happier and more confident. Then, you can communicate much better as well because you feel that you are free from insecurities, you are more open to all kinds of conversations—even those you might have found offensive in the past. You actually magically and slowly become free from shyness and have a state of mind which allows you to socialize so easily!

5. Practice. Practice more.

You may know the theories, but you need to apply them! Applying them basically comes down to just putting yourself in many social situations. Take part in events where you have to socialize; start smiling at strangers; talk to random strangers; go to clubs and talk to random people. Step out of your comfort zone and test your limits. You will get better and better when you keep doing it! It’s perfectly fine to fail at first. All you have to do is to take the first step; it could be just starting to talk to your dog at first if you are majorly shy! I am not even joking—it probably helps.

You could also try spending a few minutes every day and make yourself talk about a particular thing, anything, continuously. This is an exercise to stop you from filtering your words. Also, you can try this trick: get slightly intoxicated. You know how you open up more when intoxicated? You tend to be more relaxed, filter less, have more guts to speak whatever is in your mind, right? Do that, and remember how you feel when you are sober, then apply it. It is not easy. You’ve got to take note of your state of mind when you are under the influence; maybe try to write it down the reasons why you have so much confidence suddenly when you are drunk, and review it again when you are sober. You probably have to repeat that many times because it is trial and error. Once you get it, you will have level 1000 social confidence!

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Give yourself time. It depends on your starting point. Some may take a few months, some may take a year, or a few years. I have been shy since I was very young and all throughout high school. Then I decided to change, and it probably took me a few years to become much more socially confident. I still have a lot to learn and improve on. Believe in yourself and take action to make a change. You will be surprised at how you are starting to live your life finally!

Featured photo credit: Stokpic via stokpic.com

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http://imcreator.com/free/people/rick-nunn How to Become a Stronger Version of Yourself for True Confidence 5 Ways to Start Building Social Confidence Today

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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