You Got This This! 6 Ways to Boost Your Confidence While Speaking in Public

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You’ve practiced in front of the mirror for hours and hours. You’ve prepared your note cards. You look fabulous in your designer dress. You are ready to make the speech that you have been preparing for months! You begin the slow walk up towards the podium, take a quick glance at the audience, and reach your hand out for the microphone. You begin to open your mouth to speak and . . . Crickets. You’re mind goes blank, you start to sweat, the words on the note cards begin to fade, and everything that you’ve prepared for the last few months begins to leave your mind. Many of us can probably relate to this scenario. 

Speaking in front of large crowds can be difficult for anyone no matter if you’re a beginner or an ol’ pro.

When you think about it, there are many aspects that go into speaking in front of crowds. Whether it’s just a few people or hundreds, speaking in front of anyone—let alone strangers—can be a very large endeavor. But when we look at some of our most legendary speakers—Dr. Maya Angelou, First Lady Michelle Obama, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr—there is one thing in common: Confidence!

When you think about it, there are many aspects that go into speaking in front of crowds. Whether it’s just a few people or hundreds, speaking in front of anyone—let alone strangers—can be a very large endeavor. But when we look at some of our most legendary speakers—Dr. Maya Angelou, First Lady Michelle Obama, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr—there is one thing in common: Confidence!

Confidence is an essential part of speaking in front of crowds and is the key for capturing your audience. Now, what does “capturing” your audience mean? In essence, this is “making your audience want to hear what you have to say.” Whether you are the President of the United States, giving a speech on world peace, or are a member of your church congregation encouraging members to donate to a charity drive, the overall goal of any speech is the motivate your audience and encourage them to “believe” in what you are speaking about.

So, in order to make your audience believe, you must first believe in what you are trying to promote. When you believe in your objective, then you are able to speak clearly and confidently, which in turn will hopefully get your audience excited as well. In a dream sequence, everyone would speak with confidence and pose and exit to a roaring applause and everyone would believe in what they were promoting. However, this is not always the case. Many times, you will have recited what you deemed the “World’s Perfect Speech” and are still left with crickets and blank stares. Do not let this deter you! The most important thing is that you remain posed and confident in your speech delivery. Sometimes it may take a series of speeches to make an impact. Don’t get discouraged.

Many times, you will have recited what you deemed the “World’s Perfect Speech” and are still left with crickets and blank stares. Do not let this deter you! The most important thing is that you remain poised and confident in your speech delivery. Sometimes it may take a series of speeches to make an impact. Don’t get discouraged!

Use these 6 public speaking tips to improve your technique:

  1. Research: Make sure to fully research your subject topic. Be prepared to answer any questions that audience members may have at the end of your speech.
  2. Practice: Practice in front of family, friends, and even strangers. Make sure to get their honest opinions and suggestions for areas of improvement. Try reciting your speech in front of the mirror. Sometimes seeing yourself can help improve your overall delivery. Make sure to smile and use facial expressions and gestures when reciting your speech.
  3. Be Playful: Don’t be afraid to make a joke here or there in your speech. Just make sure that you don’t overdo it. We don’t want to turn your speech into a comedy show!
  4. Look Good: Dress to impress. Wear clothes that you feel comfortable in and are appropriate for the occasion.
  5. Smile: A smile can make even the most nervous moments a little better. Also, try finding a happy face in the crowd to focus on. This will help encourage you as you recite your speech.
  6. BE CONFIDENT! You got this!

Shannan Burrell

Campus Contributor

Shannan Dione Burrell was born in Heidelberg, Germany. Growing up, she thrived in the areas of performing arts, participating in dance, theater, and music. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Broadcast Journalism from Hampton University, Hampton, Virginia, in 2010 and is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Film and Video at American University, Washington D.C., where she is scheduled to graduate May of 2017. Shannan has always had a passion for volunteering and helping others within her community. She has been an active member of her church Emmanuel AME Church in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Throughout her years at Emmanuel, she has participated in numerous ministries including the Praise Dance Ministry, Young Adult Ministry, Youth Ministry, and Women’s Ministry. Shannan grew up a member of the Girl Scouts of America organization. Her 12 years as a Girl Scout prepared her to become an effective volunteer within the community and a role model for young women. Shannan is currently volunteering with the Best Kids mentoring program in Washington, D.C., which specializes in mentoring inner city youth and foster children. Shannan also has a passion and vison for storytelling through media. She has over 10 years of experience within the media field, which includes numerous internships with companies including Arena Stage Theater in Washington D.C., The Ft. Belvoir Eagle Newspaper in Ft. Belvoir, Virginia, Clear Channel Communications in Rockville, Maryland and Gannett/USA Today in McLean, Virginia. Her many years of experience have prompted her to write, direct, and produce over 15 original productions for her church and community. Shannan’s mentors and role models are that of her family, church family, and fellow aspiring African American women in the media field such as Ava DuVernay and Oprah Winfrey, who have worked at paving the way for minority storytellers within the entertainment industry. Shannan hopes one day to open up a production company for minorities, which will inspire, motivate, and empower them to follow their passions through the arts. Shannan’s favorite scripture is Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” She credits this verse for inspiring her to overcome all obstacles within her life and to work hard to succeed and excel at being a good role model for young women within her church and community.

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