When you think of the most confident woman you know, like Malala Yousafzai, Oprah Winfrey, or even a Kanye West interrupted Taylor Swift, what are these ladies have in common that allow them to approach life so fearlessly? They carry themselves with an air of success, grace, and determination. The energy change when they entered a room.They are memorable.
See how many of this list of pitfalls you avoid and how you measure up as a confident woman.
1. They don’t gossip.
Confident women don’t talk about other women, they talk about their dreams, plans and aspirations.
2. They don’t doubt themselves
You won’t hear them second-guess their decisions. Hesitation isn’t part of their process. They know what they are doing and why they are doing it at all time. They think their decisions through thoroughly but once they have decided, they have decided.
3. They don’t follow trends
Confident women are trend setters. They spend no time thinking about what is “in” and instead they make choices based on what they like. They are finely attuned to their own needs and preferences. And they are not afraid to ask for what they want.
4. They never suppress feelings
When something is on their mind, you will know it. They tell it like it is. With confidence comes the ability to speak your mind in a way that others hear you.
5. They never compromise self-care
Confident women know that they need to take care of themselves. They value a healthy work/life balance and they take time to eat right, sleep well and to spend an occasional moment being pampered just because it feels good.
6. They never listen blindly
Confident women like to gather their own evidence and come to their own conclusion. They think outside-the-box, because if they don’t do their own fact-finding, they know they might not see the big picture.
7. They don’t try to please people
When a woman is self-assured, she does not need external approval. This allows them to be their true-selves and trust that people who like her, like her for who she truly is. She leads from her heart and has the inner-strength to handle opposition.
8. They don’t waste time on worrying.
Time is valuable so spending time on “what-if”, “should-have” or “could-have-been” is not useful to the confident woman. She knows that worry is like paying interest on a loan before you have been approved.
9. They don’t have regret
They learn from the past and they recognize where they have made poor choices but there’s no regret. Being able to learn from the past rather than regret it oozes confident.
10. They aren’t afraid to get messy
Sure they know the value of a good first impression and they like to look good, but they don’t care if they are caught in a rainstorm or if they get sandy feet while walking on the beach. They find joy in the experience whether that is getting stuck in a downpour or falling in the pool.
11. They don’t see failures as defeats
In fact, they are the ones who can tell you how many times Henry Ford went bankrupt before he became successful (three!). They recognize that there are always bumps in the road on the path to success. The ease with which they recover allows them to keep moving forward in their determined fashion.
12. They don’t cave to peer pressure
This is largely due to the fact that they don’t feel peer pressure. Pressure is reserved for those who stress about what others think. And the confident woman just doesn’t.
13. They don’t make unconscious choices
Confident women are in touch with their purpose and they use this to intentionally guide their decisions. This dauntless way of living intentionally is part of what draws others to them.
14. They don’t ignore their instincts
Even when all the facts seem to point one way, if their gut says the other, that is the way they go. They know that instinct is our strongest ally in decision making so they listen to it religiously.
15. They don’t glorify busy
Productive is different than busy. They get the job done, they just don’t feel overwhelmed as they are doing it.
16. They don’t take things personally
They understand that your opinion is about you, not about them. While they value your input, if you don’t agree with their choices, they still make them. And they still like you.
17. They don’t find silence uncomfortable
In fact, silence recharges them. They enjoy alone time where they can explore personal growth and take time to reenergize.
18. They don’t aspire to be popular
They value authenticity in others and only want friends whom they share a deep connection. They like challenging conversations and this doesn’t lead to popularity but they don’t care.
19. They don’t need personal trainers
Or alarm clocks for that mater. They motivate themselves and are excited to get the jump on their day – no snooze buttons for them.
20. They don’t want fans they want supporters
They probably have 900 Facebook friends and a ton of followers on Instagram but what they value is the content of their newsfeed, not the numbers. Quality over quantity every time.
21. They don’t equate who they are with what they have
They know that stuff doesn’t define them so their choices in clothing and cars are based on what they like not on how they want to be perceived.
22. They don’t deny themselves
They realize that there is balance on everything. They might be on a health kick but they will gladly treat themselves to an occasional ice-cream. They like to get to the gym, but they know the world won’t end if they skip a work out.
Confident women don’t neeed anyone to like them. Which is probably why everyone does!
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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: