Discovering confidence, unleashing a powerful voice.

Many of us had that early moment in elementary school when we had to stand up and talk to the whole class. The final result? Well, we would freeze and forget everything we had planned to say.

In college or university, post-secondary students frequently dive into group projects and do presentations to the class, sometimes in front of over 40 classmates – feeling a little nervous during these situations is totally normal, but there are some tricks to help you overcome those nerves.

Mastering the art of public speaking isn’t just about getting a good grade in a presentation, it can also help you build connections, develop your leadership skills and grow your persuasion skills.

Here are some great tips on how to boost your confidence in public speaking:

Get prepped

Homer Simpson reading notes and looking worried.

To feel confident when speaking in public, you have to understand the significance of planning, preparation and practicing.

You have to make sure you know your material inside and out. The more familiar you are with your content, the more confident you’ll be to use anecdotes, come up with things on the spot and interact with your audience.

Do your research, structure the speech and practice, practice, practice. Whether you’re talking to a wall, practicing in front of the mirror or recording yourself, it’s key for building confidence in public speaking.

Use appropriate body language

Woman shaking her arms while speaking.

You might have noticed how confident speakers use their body language.

Your body language plays a big role in how confident you seem to your audience. The way you move and express yourself without words, non-verbal communication, really affects how your message is received by others.

Here are some body language tips on how to look more confident when speaking in public:

  • Maintain eye contact with your audience.
  • Use gestures to emphasize your points.
  • Talk slowly.
  • Use facial expressions.
  • Keep an open posture.

Engage with your audience

Man giving a speech in front of an audience.

Engaging and connecting with your audience is a great way to feel more confident during a public speech.

Establishing a connection with the people who are listening to you can have an impact on how they evaluate your ideas and how your message is coming across.

Sharing a personal story, moving closer to your audience or getting them to participate during your speech are amazing ways to bring everyone together – when the audience responds well, it can boost your confidence while you’re up on stage.

Know your audience

Audience clapping hands.

The importance of the audience has been mentioned a lot in this article, and it is also important to know about them beforehand.

Even the most experienced public speakers have some predetermined knowledge of the people they are going to be talking to.

Think about who your audience is. What’s their demographic? How much do they already know about the topic? What’s their age? These are important questions you should be asking yourself before delivering your speech.

Getting to know your audience will increase engagement and satisfaction, while also boosting your confidence.

Audience clapping hands.

If talking in front of others feels tough, know that you’re not alone in this boat. With a bit of practice, preparation and some helpful tips, you can master your public speaking skills and ace your assignments.

Dominating this skill won’t only help you do well in school, it can also put you in the spotlight for a potential job opportunity!

Feature photo courtesy of Marcos Luiz Photograph from Unsplash.

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