Getting comfortable with public speaking is always a good idea because it’s a useful skill that will serve you in good stead throughout your career. Almost all of us find ourselves delivering talks and speeches at some point, even if it’s just to an audience of a handful of people.
But you might not have realized that public speaking can also be a great way to boost your confidence, and not only during the time when you’re standing up in front of people and talking. It can also make you more confident in general, delivering benefits throughout your life.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves, and so without further ado, let’s jump in and take a look at how public speaking boosts your confidence.
It gives you a new skill
Learning any new skill can give you confidence, and so public speaking is hardly unique here. However, it’s also a great social skill, and you might be surprised by just how much more self-confidence you’ll enjoy once you know that you can comfortably stand in front of an audience and talk about a subject that you’re passionate about.
You gain confidence from experience
Confidence often comes from practice and getting to know a subject as well as you can. If we told you to build a house, you probably wouldn’t be particularly confident. If we told a builder to build a house, they’d have the experience they need to feel confident about their ability to do it. Public speaking works in much the same way, and the experience that you’ll gain will relate directly back to the industry that you work in and make you much more confident about your ability to do your job.
You get used to talking to senior people
It’s only natural to feel a little nervous when you’re in a meeting with people who are at a higher level of seniority than you. One of the great things about public speaking is that it gets you used to standing up and speaking in front of such people. There are no shortcuts to this, and so the more time you spend speaking in public, the more comfortable you’ll become. This will then carry over to meetings in boardrooms and also to one-on-one conversations.
It introduces you to your true self
Public speaking may at first feel like standing up naked and baring both your body and soul. When you’re talking in front of an audience – and when you’re answering questions as part of a Q&A in particular – there’s nothing for you to hide behind and no way for you to pretend to be something that you’re not. It forces you to be your true self and it also makes you much more comfortable with doing that than you might otherwise have been.
Use graded exposure to overcome your fear
Graded exposure is a technique that’s commonly used in counseling and therapy, especially for people with phobias. For example, if someone was arachnophobic, they might first be shown photos of spiders before later being shown videos and even real life examples. By using this graded exposure approach, you can slowly but surely gain confidence when it comes to public speaking. And let’s not forget that public speaking is the world’s most common phobia, ahead of death, spiders and heights.
You’ll receive feedback
Whether you ask for it or not, you can expect to receive feedback about your public speaking performance from your audience. Instead of seeing this as a threat that could open you up to criticism, you should think of it as free advice that you can either take or ignore. Everyone loves positive feedback, but it’s also worth listening to negative feedback, as long as it’s constructive. You never know when you might learn something that you can use to improve your performance.
You get to see people’s real-time reactions
Another great advantage to public speaking is that you can see people’s reactions to what you’re talking about in real time. This can be super useful in an era in which much of our business is carried out by email. Assuming that the reactions are positive, which is almost always the case no matter how experienced you are as a public speaker, this can provide you with a huge amount of confidence in the form of valuable social confirmation.
You establish rapport with people
Being a public speaker means that you’ll inherently meet a large number of new people, whether you’re networking before and after your talk, or whether you’re answering questions from audience members. This gets you used to establishing rapport with people that you’ve only just met and will make it much easier for you in future social situations.
You make new contacts and friends
Building on that last point, being exposed to all of these new people will naturally help you to network and to make new contacts and friends within your industry. This will have the welcome knock-on effect of increasing your confidence because you’ll know that people have got your back and are hoping you do well.
You become an expert in your field
By niching down and focusing your talks on a specific subject, you can position yourself as an expert in your field. This will make you much sought after as a public speaker, employee, and consultant. All of that demand for your services will make you feel like you’re on top of the world and can do no wrong. So while this does have a huge positive impact on your confidence, you just need to make sure that you don’t let it go to your head.
As always, now that you know our thoughts on how public speaking can boost your confidence, we’d love to hear from you. Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments so that we can keep the discussion going.
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