Imagine this, you have an opportunity to address an audience, and right before your cue, your palms start to sweat, and you get cold feet. If that sounds familiar to you, you can benefit from our take on 5 ways to project confidence in front of an audience.
Many people like you experience public speaking anxiety or PSA. It’s quite common as one in five people share this trait, making it one of the most common types of anxiety today.
Fortunately, you don’t have to suffer from it forever. Research indicates that with the right strategies and some practice, you can learn to tackle your anxiety and perform well when you have a public speaking engagement. These strategies will not only help you fight your fears. But teach you how to project confidence in front of an audience.
Read further to know more about confidence projecting methods.
Following are a few tried & tested ways to appear more confident in front of a large audience and speak like a professional orator.
It’s a fact that you project a confident image through good body language. In the case of a public speaker, good body language will refer to a relaxed stance that indicates self-control and confidence.
If you seem tense, anxious, and stressed while speaking, your audience will know at a glance that you’re not confident. As a result, you’ll lose their interest and your credibility on the subject matter you’re speaking on.
Here’s a good standing posture checklist to help you improve your posture in a public setting:
– Stack all your joints one over another from your shoulders to ankles.
– Keep your shoulders relaxed away from your ears and shoulder blades pushed back into your back. Also, release them down your back and widen your collarbones to look calm. Avoid hunching or rolling your shoulders forward at all times.
– Without pushing your lower front ribs forward, lift the top of your breastbone straight and upwards.
– Flex your abdominals and hold them lightly, not sagging.
Good posture will help you project confidence while helping you command your voice. Thus, practice good posture whenever you are on stage.
Hand gestures are an important element of effective public speaking. You must have noticed that great speakers like Barack Obama and Gary Vaynerchuk use their hands at well-timed moments to focus the audience’s attention on themselves. Their use of appropriate hand gestures adds extra meaning and importance to what is being said.
Alan Pease in his TEDxTalk explains how you can influence your audience by using specific hand gestures. According to him, it can immediately increase your power over your listeners and help you make an immediate connection.
Gestures can clearly convey to people that you’re competent and trustworthy. Otherwise, they will immediately deduce that you feel nervous and uncomfortable.
If you’re wondering the reason behind this – it’s simple. Humans are visual learners, and hand gestures create an important visual picture when on stage. It helps you reinforce your keywords and ideas better.
All hand gestures do not have the same effect. When used unconsciously or incorrectly, inappropriate hand gestures can be distracting. Or worse, send out the wrong non-verbal message.
So, here are three main gestures you can learn to project confidence and convey your message.
Symbolic gestures: Symbols include words, numbers, position, and common regional gestures.
– Raising a hand means stop
– Thumbs-up shows agreement
– Number of fingers to display any number in speech
– Pointing up, down, left, right for a position
Descriptive gestures: These gestures are about expressing an idea or movement through a hand gesture.
– Spread hands wide apart as a show of length for enormity.
– Draw a shape like a circle with hands or a finger
– Show flow like movement with arms
– Pointing up shows the inception of an idea
– Show forward or backward movement by moving hands
Pro Tip: When you are preparing for your talk or going through it in a practice run, pay extra attention to all the points where you can intentionally use gestures to hit it home. Try and test adding just a few specific gestures here and there to see if anything suits, until you get used to doing it so that everything looks natural on the big day.
A good speaker speaks with clarity and precision to come across as a confident person. It’s only possible if you keep your jaw open and mobile.
It may seem easy, but people who tend to tense up or get anxious in public settings often limit the movement of their jaw muscles and clench their jaws tighter.
You’ll be able to convey your thoughts better if you pronounce your words clearly, enunciate and project a loud voice. A relaxed jaw helps with that.
So, try to relax your jaw muscles by stretching them out right before getting on stage to speak confidently at your important presentation.
Under Confident people are usually low on energy, and it’s quite evident. So, if you want to project confidence, stay bright and energetic. Let your charismatic personality shine bright on the audience because every audience craves some sort of enthusiasm in the speaker. It’s a desired trait among public speakers to deliver their piece with utter enthusiasm and enjoyment, for then, they can hook the audience’s attention.
On the other hand, a boring & dry delivery with a low monotone voice, dull facial expressions, and overall lethargy — is the recipe for losing an audience’s interest in you.
Another important aspect is that your energy should come off naturally and not seem forced. It should flow from your authentic enthusiasm for the event and for sharing ideas. It will be evident if you try to overdo or fake it and can backfire on novice speakers. The fake over-the-top energy can overwhelm or irritate audiences.
The right approach is to project bright, warm energy from within. If you focus on yourself both mentally & emotionally and spend a few moments centering yourself before getting on stage, you’ll be able to walk and talk with confidence.
Though doing everything from maintaining good body language, eye contact, hand gestures, loud voice, and more is beneficial, overdoing it or overthinking your efforts can do as much damage as good.
If you get too caught up in making everything mechanically perfect, you’ll come off as inauthentic or disingenuous. Instead, you need to let your natural charisma shine through.
Thus, stand up straight, pull your shoulders back and keep your chin up: assuming this physical posture will naturally increase your confidence. Stay focused on the positive outcomes of your efforts. It will help you send out nonverbal warmth and likeability cues.
Also, you should learn How To Pace Yourself When Speaking
Confidence can be a key determining factor in your public speaking skills. If you wish to succeed in this endeavor, you need to be confident in front of your audience and create an everlasting impression.
Fortunately, you’re not out of help if you struggle with staying confident in front of an audience.
You can improve yourself and be better at your next important presentation, or an event by simply learning the art of effective public speaking – where you’ll be taught strategies to appear confident in front of an audience and hold their attention through your skills.
Moreover, the course is led by a TED Talk lecturer and USC professor, so you know you’re learning from the best.
Enroll in our online public speaking course and become a better speaker through guided coaching, skills, and multiple ways to project confidence in front of an audience.
For more clarity over the course content and outcomes, you can Schedule A Free Call with our team in order to discuss all your doubts.
Jeremiah O’Brian is a faculty member at the USC School of Dramatic Arts. His exceptionally diverse background – from gritty nuts-and-bolts firefighting to film and theatre credits and accolades – is bolstered by his several graduate degrees.