Thursday, January 22, 2009

Confidence in Public Speaking

I have been having a think about my presentation skills and confidence at getting up in front of a group of people and being able to make sure that words actually come out of my mouth. I feel like I do an OK job. I get feedback from other people that I look and sound confident. But I don't feel confident. I feel anxious, nervous and worried. I believe that it is possible to die from embarassment. I feel light headed, dry mouthed and it sounds to me like my voice is a quavery squeak.

But if I want to be a world famous researcher, author and conference presenter, then I am going to have to find a way to improve my confidence in public speaking. And my first presentation, all by myself is planned for Feb 27th 2009.

I was inspired by Jeffrey's ideas about Learning from Impromptus, and his advice that people get better with practice. I also enjoy Kevin's blog and especially his post about the magic of dialogue - Kevin says that it is a skill that can be learned.

So I have decided that I am going to learn and practice how to improve my confidence in public speaking. I found a group called Toastmasters - they advertise in my local area - the Bendigo Club 'Have you ever wanted to speak confidently in front of an audience? Learn and practice your speaking skills in a friendly, supportive environment. And have a lot of fun along the way.' Yep -that's for me. What an appealing advertisement - it actually sounds like fun. And not scary at all.

So I am going to join and I will let you know how it goes. Wish me luck! Do you have any other advice or suggestions for ways to improve my confidence in public speaking? I'd love to hear from you.



Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach said...

I would be happy to talk to you about speaking sometime and what I have learned along the way.

You do get over the fear if you present on things that you are utterly passionate about.

Buckeyebrit said...

Great proactive ways to increase your confidence!! I do quite a lot of public speaking - training and conferences as well as leading complex assessments with loads of other professionals. If you had told me I would be doing this when I qualified I would have laughed! I'm a firm believer in doing the things that give you the wobbles so have forced myself over the years to do more and more. Word on the street is that I do ok. I'd be lying if I said that I never get nervous but once I get going its fine. I would suggest that you focus on things that you feel passionate and confident about. Its easy for people to see enthusiam for a topic shine through. I'm not a fan of loads of notes, I'd rather talk round a power point to keep it sounding natural. Limit the info on the power point to give you more novel stuff they cant see to talk through (plus less is always more on powerpoint!). I'd be interested to know how you get on with the groups, they sound great!

Buckeyebrit said...

PS great post - I love blogs that are so open and honest!

Helen said...

Gidday Sheryl and Buckeye - thanks for stopping by and for the encouragement and support. I would like to keep in contact and talk with you more about this. Your suggestions and advice are really appreciated and it gives me hope that this is something that I can improve. You both talk about the passion, so I think that is a great place to start.

thank you