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11 Easy Ways To Boost Your Confidence

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11 Easy Ways To Boost Your Confidence

When I was a manager, I was never very good at speaking at meetings. In fact, I hated them! Now, thinking back to that period in my life, I think it was mainly a lack of confidence in my skills and abilities.

If I had to do it all over again, this is what I would concentrate on. If you can resonate with all this, here are 11 ways you can boost your confidence.

1. Your lack of confidence is not so obvious.

You probably think that everyone in the room is looking at how you behave, speak and move. The truth is that people are all too often, absorbed in their own thoughts.

They are thinking about their next move, future plans and what they are going to have for dinner! Keeping this in mind helps you to become less intimidated by the people around you.

2. Be your hero for a day.

Who is your hero? You can bet your bottom dollar that they are full of self assurance and confidence. It probably oozes out of every pore in the way they dress, speak and walk! The secret is to pretend to be your hero and ask yourself how she or he would deal with this awful problem which is nagging you.

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Stepping outside that vicious circle where you and the ‘problem’ spin around out of control is really helpful. You can imagine a different, happier ending when you pretend to be your hero.

3. Take a philosophical approach.

The break up was unpleasant and has left you feeling un-confident. Take a philosophical approach where you think this has been a useful experience. You learned that this person was not for you, you will recognize the warning signs the next time and the right person is waiting in the wings.

It just takes time but why beat yourself up for something which was not entirely your fault? You cannot win every game in the championship. Just think that you are still on a winning streak because you have a lot going for you.

4. Build your support team.

“I’ll get by with a little help from my friends.” – The Beatles

Choosing supportive friends will be essential to help you boost your confidence. These are the precious friends and family members who are always there to tell you that you can do it when faced with a problem, challenge or minor disaster.

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Avoid toxic friends who are likely to point out the buts and ifs, rather than tell you to go for it. The classic one is where they say that there will be stiff competition for that dream job. Your support team will be rooting for you and egging you on. That makes all the difference.

5. Take a humorous approach.

“Laugh, and the whole world laughs with you.” – Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Most speakers tell a joke or maybe laugh a little at themselves. Why do they do this? Laughter produces those endorphins which makes everybody in the audience feel better and it also relaxes them. A lot of the tension goes.

The audience warms to the speaker and are generally much less critical. If you want to feel more confident, just watch one of the funny videos here. You will immediately feel better. I love the one with Mayson Zayid whose talk is entitled ‘I got 99 problems … palsy is just one.’

6. Watch your body language.

Do you walk or slouch? Is your handshake firm? Making eye contact is vital when you are networking or speaking at a meeting. There is no doubt that body language sends a powerful message. Why not take advantage of it and convince others and, more importantly yourself, that you are confident and you can meet all the challenges with ease?

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Watch Amy Cuddy on how important body language is when we want to feel confident.

7. Build a Pinterest board.

What does your future look like and how do you want your life to be? One of the best ways is to build a vision board. You can have a notice board in your kitchen with favorite quotes and pictures that inspire you. This is difficult to organize and you may not have the space you need.

Why not build a Pinterest board? Repin the images and the quotes that build your confidence and also that fit in with your goals. You get a vision of your future and this will help to build your confidence. Taking a few minutes a day to do this is much more fruitful than trying to keep up with all your Facebook ‘friends’.

8. Self-confidence is about you.

 “Self-confidence is the experience of being competent to cope with the basic challenges of life and being worthy of happiness.”- Nathaniel Branden

Think of it like this. Your confidence is like the motor that drives you. If that is defective in some way, then you will never even get into top gear. You are held back because of the fear of failing. But if you have a superb engine, then you are going to race ahead and achieve success. That is real confidence.

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Watch out for the triggers that can affect your confidence level. You may be late for work and rushed into a meeting, in which your performance is dismal. Plan ahead so that these triggers do not get a chance to catch up on you.

9. Cut down on the negativity.

Everybody gets overwhelmed at times by the negative self-talk that we inflict on ourselves. There are about 80,000 thoughts that flash through the brain every day. Let us think of some practical examples. We may be assaulted by worries, doubts and problems. They crowd in on us.

But a good tactic is always to ask yourself if it is really true. Very often, the answer is that is based on a negative scenario which is like a contagious disease, infecting every train of thought. The secret is to cultivate a state of mindfulness and choose to take another road at the negative intersection. This is a great chance to build new, positive beliefs and stories about ourselves. “I have achieved so much,” needs to be your mantra.

10. Give yourself a daily mini confidence boost.

Listen to your favorite music or wear those clothes that make you look and feel really great. Read some inspiring poem or quote. Write it on a post it and place it on your computer at work. These little boosts of confidence can set the tone for a much more positive day.Try them out.

11. Teach others and benefit yourself.

When you set the example for your loved ones and colleagues by teaching them to be more confident, you will be surprised at your own results. Yes, teaching it by complimenting and encouraging people around you will pay you handsome dividends. Walk the talk and you find that your own confidence levels will soar as a result.

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Featured photo credit: Mona Lisa Eyes/Emilio Labrador via flickr.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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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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