Newsletter January 04
Building confidence, part 2: Action
The more you prepare presentations and speak to groups, the more your confidence will increase.
It’s like learning to swim – you can listen to someone talk about it, read the books, listen to tapes and watch videos – but at some point you need to jump in the water! And the more often you do it, the more confident you become.
When I first started speaking to groups I was so nervous that I had to half-sit against a table, as my legs would have given way if I’d had to ‘free-stand’. Realising that this wasn’t the best way to spend my working life, I knew I needed to do something about it. I took some action.
This meant agreeing to, and even offering to speak at any opportunity, no matter how small – or large! Scary though it was, it was an extremely useful learning experience as I came to understand that audiences are actually made up of human beings, who are not expecting perfection, just a message they can understand and make use of.
As you get used to standing in front of a group you can put the situation into perspective.
It’s similar to building your confidence through increasing your knowledge (see the last newsletter), as nervousness often arises from the fear of the unknown. The more we can make it a ‘known’ situation the more this allows our confidence to increase.
The more we stand in front of groups, then the more we know how it feels, how audiences are likely to react, and how we are likely to be! We get to understand that audiences do want you to do well, are interested in what you say, and that if you trip up over a few words, it’s OK.
Take some action:
Set yourself goals, even simple ones initially, eg “I will speak at every staff meeting”
Accept - and make - opportunities to speak
Practice your talks many times before you give them
So please, ‘Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway!’ It’s better to get up and say something even if it’s not perfect in the beginning, than to not speak up at all. Don’t aim to be perfect, just aim to improve.