How to Speak With Confidence When You’re Just Not Feelin’ It
Some people seem to be born with a natural confidence.
At least, it can seem that way if you’re on the opposite end of the spectrum.
Maybe you’ve resigned yourself to the fact that it will always be difficult for you to speak in front of a crowd, you lack presentation skills, or you’ll struggle to give a presentation with some semblance of self-assuredness.
The truth is – confidence is closely tied to how you physically present yourself. Your body is actually a presentation tool that you can use to your benefit.
The misconception about giving a presentation
Before getting into the nitty-gritty of how your body affects your confidence, it’s important to address a common misunderstanding that you may have.
It’s the idea that the most critical elements of your presentation are the words that you say and the slides that you show.
The reality is that it’s all about what you do with your body.
That’s what your audience will be focusing on, though they probably aren’t even aware.
Body language has a greater impact than the words that are coming out of your mouth.
Fake it until you make it
A trick you can use to give yourself a confidence boost is to pretend.
You read that right.
When you’re not feeling all that self-assured, you can pretend that you are.
It’s almost like magic because guess what happens?
When you act as if you’re confident you actually do feel more bold, fearless and sure of yourself.
Use body language intentionally to boost confidence
As was already mentioned, your body is a presentation tool.
When you’re intentional about how you’re moving, gesturing and even speaking, you’ll feel more confident and your audience will be able to tell.
You can even use your body to put an exclamation point on what you’re saying or to emphasize a key idea you want the audience to remember.
For example, if you’ve been standing in one spot for the majority of your presentation, walk all the way across the stage and stand close to the audience before delivering that important point.
Or, if you tend to move around a lot, stop and stand very still while you share the crucial concept.
You’re letting your audience know that they should take note of what you’re conveying in that moment.
The hormone effect
You’ve probably never considered that there’s a link between your hormones and your presentation skills.
You can increase the hormones in your body that make you more assertive and poised by standing in confident positions.
Try it out:
Stand tall with your chin up and make your body fill more space. Holding this position for even two minutes will raise the level of testosterone in your system.
Testosterone occurs in both males and females and it raises confidence levels in your body.
An added benefit of standing this way is that you’ll also be able to breathe better, which also has a positive effect on your body.
On the other side of the coin, guess what happens when you feel nervous and close your body in on itself?
Not only are you breathing less effectively, you’re also doing something else that’s detrimental.
Your body releases cortisol.
If you aren’t familiar with cortisol, it’s considered the “stress” hormone.
Cortisol makes you feel anxious, worried and tired.
That’s clearly not what you want!
You have the ability to make yourself feel more confident and in control simply by the way you physically hold yourself.
Did you have any idea that science played such a large role in your presentation skills?
Use your body to speak
William James, a psychologist and philosopher, said, “Act as if you are beautiful, confident and poised, and you will be.”
He probably didn’t realize how right he was!
Your body language speaks more loudly and clearly than your words ever will.
When you remember that you have a powerful tool in your arsenal in the form of your body and the way you hold yourself, you’ll be able to speak with a true confidence.
Do you have trouble feeling confident and exuding that to your audience?
Take a few minutes today to strike a confident pose and see if you notice a change in your confidence level.