One of the questions I get asked MOST often as a public speaking coach and communications speaker is: “How do I sound more confident?” “How do I overcome stage fright?” “How do I command a room and ooze expertise?”
Ok, so it’s more like three questions. But that’s alright because they all have the same answer. It’s an industry secret and I can’t believe I’m about to share it with you. My goodness, the keynote speaker police are going to come for me. Are you ready? Ok here it is. The way to sound more confident and overcome stage fright when you’re speaking is to:
“But Emily!” I hear you say. “That’s disingenuous! You’re asking me to deceive my audience!”
No I’m not. I’m saying the advice of “just be yourself” to combat stage fright is only HALF right. You want to be “yourself”….BUT you want to be the SPEAKING version of yourself. Your normal self? That person is a little nervous. That’s ok! Your job is to make your audience THINK you’re not
Your Speaking Self
How would a confident person sound? What would they look like? What words and gestures would they use? How would a confident person carry themselves?
Use those questions to craft the persona of your “speaking self.” It’s just like your normal self….but confident in front of a crowd. Think of it as a “confidence costume” that you literally put on before you get up to talk. Sure, you’re still nervous, but you’re ACTING like you’re not. What a fun little trick you just pulled.
Embrace the Nerves
Lean into the nerves. Embrace the nerves. Really, I don’t see any other option because no words I could possibly say to you will make you NOT be nervous. Also, please, for the love of everything, don’t “picture them in their underwear.” Maybe there are people this advice works for? If so, I have yet to meet them!
The cool thing about your “confidence costume?” After a while, you’ll notice something really spectacular. It doesn’t feel like a costume anymore. You’ll have become such good friends with your “speaking self” that it will have become a part of you. You might still be a little nervous, but the nerves have faded.
That’s because the only thing that truly overcomes stage fright in the long term is practice. The reason I know this is true is because I’ve seen it work for hundreds of people. And it can work for you too.
Need some more help? Ever consider a public speaking coach? Or a public speaking training for your group? Let’s chat EmilySchwartzSpeaks@gmail.com
Or check out How to Speak so People Will Buy on Amazon