It’s the most common inquiry we get here at MillsWyck Communications, a weekly occurrence by phone or email.
“Hey, can you make me a more confident speaker? I get really nervous when I have to speak.”
Before we give them the answer, we ask them a question: “Are you any good at speaking?”
The response is almost always the same. “Well, no, that’s why we’re calling you.”
Depending on how the conversation is going, we might be snarky or perhaps gentle, but why would you be confident about something that you weren’t any good at?
When we reframe the question to, “are you willing to become a great speaker?” the answer is almost always, “yes, that’s what I’d like to be.”
That then gives us the answer to the question, can we make you more confident? And the answer is no, because confidence is something inside. From my work with youth sports, a great definition of confidence, “it’s the inner belief in your ability.”
If your ability isn’t any good, then your confidence should be low. We want to make people great. And in turn, I do believe that that will change your confidence level, but you may never get confident. But you can still be great at speaking.
Instead, we can do something called looking confident. There are plenty of examples of people who look confident, who are a nervous wreck when they perform. Athletes on the highest stage and championship game. I’m sure they’re nervous, but their coaches just want them to execute. Many entertainers and performers have fessed up over the years that they get extremely nervous. Barbara Streisand is one very clear example. Newscasters, I’m sure they get nervous when things are going sideways in the newsroom, but their job is on that screen to look professional. Execute on the skills that make you look confident.
Those are pretty straightforward. The way that you stand or sit, the where you look, how you pause, and the tone of your voice. Those things make you look confident, and those things are trainable. You can get those skills in one of our workshops or find yourself a mentor, but ultimately you have to practice. You have to work on the skills to get better, and we believe very strongly that you need to watch yourself through video. In just a few minutes when I edit this video, I’ll be watching my video. That will show me things that need improvement, and that will make me better, and eventually will lead to me becoming a confident, but more importantly, a competent speaker.
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As a high-stakes communications expert, Alan motivates individuals and teams to build their confidence and professionalism and trains them to seamlessly handle the unexpected in ANY communications setting.
Alan is an International Keynote Speaker, Coach, Trainer, and Author who has delivered keynotes and training workshops to thousands on the impact of powerful, persuasive communication. Alan is the Executive Director and Principal Trainer of MillsWyck Communications. He is the author of Presentation Sin: The Practical Guide to Stop Offending (and Start Impressing) Your Audience and the co-author of Silver Goldfish: Loud & Clear: The 10 Keys to Delivering Memorable Business Presentations.
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