Precisely a week ago, I was priviledged to participate in a debate of sorts in my school fellowship. I’ve been up in front of crowds a good number of times to know how best to handle the butterflies that mysteriously plague my stomach right before a public address, but my co-debater on the other hand, she was a nervous wreck. She looked like a tiny leaf clinging desperately to it’s branch while tossed in every which way during a storm. I gave her a little advice right before she went up and it worked for her to an extent, so I’d like to share a few tips on confidence (before, during and after a speech)
1. It’s totally okay to be nervous or shy, it’s part of our human DNA.
2. Although its okay to be nervous, don’t let it consume you. Once you get on stage shove it in a deep corner of your stomach and do what you went there to do.
3. Zone out. Yes, you’re giving a big speech in front of probably a million and one people, just try to forget all about that and focus on something else apart from the crowd, you could look at a wall clock, or find a familiar face to lock eyes with till your nervousness has been subdued.
4. Have you ever seen your favourite speaker giving a speech? He looked so cool and natural yeah? Well, he was probably feeling the same way you are feeling right now. You have to realise no one knows what’s going on inside you except you and it’s your duty not to show them how nervous you are. So just remember: your audience sees only what you want them to see. And what exactly do you want them to see? Confidence, that’s what. Show them confidence.
5. Keep going. If you make a blunder, if you skip a vital part, just keep going and find a way to chip in what you missed out or just go smoothly over your blunder like nothing happened.
6. Be yourself and act natural. Don’t put on a fake accent, don’t use words that you don’t completely understand. Just do you and be proud of it.
7. Have a good idea of what you are trying to tell the audience. Whenever I’m having a class presentation, I like to believe that I am my paper and my paper is me. I am one with my paper and even if it’s taken away from me I will still be able to deliver my presentation effectively. Try as much as possible to be one with your paper.
8. During and at the end of your speech, try as much as possible to maintain a poker face. Don’t frown or scrunch up your face, don’t smile too much and don’t twitch.
9. This point should have been the first, but it comes in last also. Pray. Before and after your speech, pray to God to guide you and your thoughts and help you not to fumble.
Next post tomorrow.