Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street oozes confidence. The character, Jordan Belfort, comes ready with a certain amount of kinetic energy – one thing is for certain, anytime he takes the stage, he’s in control.
The fact is confidence is everything. The Public Speaking class you were afraid of was arguably more important than any other class, in terms of teaching you and/or refining your skills as a speaker. In sales, for instance, how can you sell something if you come off as not believing in the product yourself? The dating world largely depends on confidence. The person you approach in a bar doesn’t really care about the details of the conversation. They care about how you hold yourself. That’s because confidence is attractive.
Fast Company recently shared their own ideas about how you can carry yourself with more confidence. We’re jumping off some of their notes and adding our own voice to them.
What are you talking about?
The number one reason why people are afraid of speaking in large groups is because they don’t know what they are talking about. They aren’t familiar with the subject. They don’t know the subject inside out, so they feel nervous because they think they’ll fail. It’s important to do your research, feel confident that you know enough about what you’re lecturing on, and if you don’t, do your work beforehand.
It’s all in the eyes
There is nothing more awkward than standing in front of a group of people and looking down the entire time at the notes in front of you. In short, you should be making “consistent eye contact to project confidence… [and should] discipline your gaze…” This makes your audience feel involved, like you’re talking to them directly.
Yes, having a sense of humor is key. No, please don’t open with a joke. In throughout your presentation, insert a little bit of humor into what it is that you’re saying (only if it’s relevant). The audience needs a little bit of a break every now and then, especially if you’re speaking for more than 10-15 minutes. So, offer them a little breather by making an offhand remark that connects to whatever else you’re saying.
In short, practice makes perfect, but the extra boost of confidence you have may make all the difference in the world. It’s all about being in control. If you’re nervous, don’t let those emotions surface. The secret to confidence is that it must come from within, so take these tips and look deep inside you for that motivation!