a feeling of trust in one’s abilities, qualities, and judgment.
I have confidence in confidence alone
Besides which you see I have confidence in me!
Maria, I Have Confidence, The Sound of Music
There is a lot of discussion about “self-confidence” going on — kind of continually. (Here’s a recent Fast Company article about women and self confidence).
But, when it comes to speaking, this can be a real killer problem. A speaker has to come across with brimming self-confidence; a speaker has to look and sound like he/she is full of confidence.
In other words, yes, it is quite a challenge to actually become more self-confident. But, when you are speaking, you need to sound confident, whether you are self-confident or not.
But many speakers come across as tentative, unsure, not quite sounding certain of what they say.
Now, if they haven’t done their homework, and aren’t prepared, then it is kind of hopeless to begin with.
But if a speaker has done his/her homework, and is prepared, then add the step of sounding more confident to your rehearsal time.
Here are some tips:
When you speak, stand up straight! Poor posture comes across as lacking in confidence. Literally, work on your posture — practice good posture.
Speak making assertions, rather than sounding like you are questioning your own thoughts.
Speak more “forcefully” – don’t sound tentative.
And one secret is to avoid rising intonation – making a statement in a way that sounds like you are asking a question.
When you rehearse, record your rehearsal. (Just set up your SmartPhone, and record yourself).
First, watch yourself carefully – without the sound on at all. How’s your posture? Do your facial expressions make it look like you know what you are talking about – that you are not questioning yourself?
And then, watch yourself again, with the sound on. Does your voice sound confident, or unsure and tentative? Watch; listen; make tweaks, rehearse again. Keep at it.
Being confident is great. But, even if you are not there yet, appearing and sounding confident is critical. It is worth working on pretty diligently.