Gain Confidence

Confident Public Speaking

The Moment It All Went Out the Window

Picture yourself relaxing with colleagues after playing a charity golf scramble. The conversation turns to the greatest athlete of all time. Things heat up when the owner of the company, your boss, claims that golfer Tiger Woods is the most accomplished athlete. A golfer? The greatest athlete? “Come on,” your co-worker says, “everyone knows that it takes focus, dexterity and skill to be a great golfer, but the greatest athlete of all time should be someone who gets up when their knocked down and keeps fighting.” Your boss looks intrigued by the passionate response and asks who, then, is the greatest athlete of all time is. “Muhammad Ali, of course.”

What do you think? But before you answer, imagine yourself standing in the center of a boxing ring, readying yourself to face one of the greats like George Foreman or Sugar Ray Leonard. It’s amazing how fast confidence flies out the window at moments like these. Your knees buckle, your arms feel weak, and your heart is racing. Now imagine that instead of standing ready to fight in a boxing ring that you’re on stage in front of an audience—about to speak. Your voice wavers and you feel compelled to cross your arms or shove your hands in your pockets. Either case, you don’t feel ready to step up to the task.

As a boxer, your opponent can recognize your weaknesses, and they strike when they can sense that you are unsure of yourself. As a speaker, changes in your voice—talking super fast or stumbling over words—might signal to your audience that you’re not prepared, even though you’ve practiced a hundred times the night before.

Public speaking, whether impromptu or planned, requires that you are comfortable in your own skin at any time or any place—that you’re ready to step up to any challenge. And that’s what confidence is all about: being comfortable in any situation. If you’re not comfortable, if you are frozen with fear, your message might get lost and you’ve lost your audience’s attention. For a boxer, it could mean a TKO.

Sending the Wrong Signals

Confidence in your ability to speak in public means that you are prepared to bend your mind to adapt to the changing circumstances and that when life throws punches, your emotions are checked. Stable, steady and ready to strike when it counts, like a champion boxer ready to defend their title. But as soon as you doubt yourself, “self soothing” habits like crossing your arms or jamming your hands into your pockets speaks for you—it’s body language that screams “I’M UNCOMFORTABLE!”

In Your Own Words public speaking training helps you identify and work on sending consistent, positive messages. Throwing a bunch of wild punches doesn’t win the match. A champion’s style is precise, controlled and decisive. By practicing strategies developed from my real world experience as a communication executive and advanced public speaking instructor, we will overcome the urge to fall back on “self soothing” behaviors by cultivating habits that promote stability and confidence—whether you’re in the ring, or on the stage. Simply put, natural body posture and movements give way to a more natural and relaxed presentation.

Confident Public Speaking Skills

Muhammed Ali wasn’t simply one of the greatest boxers, he was also a great sportsman. A sportsman respects their opponent—for a public speaker, that opponent is fear. And it also takes hard work and determination. For a boxer, practicing the wrong technique could, at its worst, lead to an injury. For a speaker, it may mean embarrassment. It takes work and a lot of patience, but that’s what makes the difference between great athletes and speakers. Public speaking confidence is an acquired skill. In Your Own Words public speaking training provides the guidance and the extra push you need to find your voice.

Without question, my expert guidance bridges your knowledge gap. My method is about developing the technique and skill sets so that you’re ready to stand up and speak with confidence. All it takes is your focus and my guidance to prepare you for whatever communication challenges arise.

Learn firsthand how skill and preparation meet to form your public speaking success. Contact me, Onlee Bowden, when you call In Your Own Words at 231-509-1499.

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