Panic Free Presentation Skills – Creating an Atmosphere of Self-Assuredness

Susan Schoenfeld has over 20 years of corporate experience as a Professional Development Director, Consultant and Training Manager. In this clip from her webinar, “Panic Free Presentation Skills”, she talks about how to create an atmosphere of self-assuredness and confidence when speaking.

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But I also want to teach you the importance of creating an atmosphere of confidence, self-assuredness. There’s several tricks that I’d like to share. I don’t know how many of you are familiar with the tennis star, John McEnroe? Well, John McEnroe was around a long time ago and I read an interview that he gave in Sports Illustrated magazine and he won several tennis championships and they asked him, well what he did before a tennis match. And he said, before a match, he would go into a dark room. He would close his eyes and he would imagine himself making that winning shot. He would hear the crowd cheering for him. He would see himself winning the match and then he’d go out and play it. So he pumped himself up, feeling positive prior to giving that tennis match. You could do the same thing prior to giving a speech or a talk.

Positive Belief System

Another good thing to do is have a positive belief system. And by that, I mean, instead of waking up and saying, “Today is going to be a terrible day. This is going to be awful,” wake up and say, “Today’s going to be a great day. I’m going to be terrific.” Nothing negative. And the first person you see, give them a compliment because when you give somebody a compliment, they’re going to smile back at you. Also, another trick is positive self talk. Buy yourself a package of little Post-it Notes, and the day of the talk, surround yourself with little messages. You get up in the bathroom and you’re getting ready or dressed and it says, “You’re terrific.” And you go down to eat breakfast and there’s a Post-it Note that says, “You look great.” And you get in your car to drive to work and it says, “You’re going to knock them dead.” And you get to the office and you say, “You’re a star,” right on your desk. So all of those little positive messages make you feel good.

Strong Language

Another thing that you can do is use strong language. And as a female, this is a big problem for us because so many females today use qualifiers and a qualifier is a word like, well perhaps, possibly, maybe. You don’t sound very self-confident when you use possibly, probably, maybe, or you could say, “Well, I think this will work,” or you can try it. Maybe it’ll work. All of those things are not positive. Instead, your language should be, you should do this. We must do this. You have to do this. All of those are strong language words. Another thing is acting self-confident. So I want you to think about it for a minute. And I want you to jot down just on a piece of paper someone that you think is self-confident and what’s one quality that they have that makes you think they are self-confident?

Other Ways of Projecting Self-Confidence

What’s one quality that they have that makes you think they’re self-confident? Anybody want to jot one down in the chat box? What’s one quality that makes somebody’s self-confident? I’ll give you one while we’re waiting. Usually we think of someone’s self-confident because they stand up straight. They stand up tall. That’s a sign of self-confidence, good pasture. Another sign of self-confidence, and you can put it in the chat box as well, another sign of self-confidence is a fairly loud speaking voice. I don’t mean shouting at people, but having a louder voice versus a very quiet voice where people can’t hear what you say. Another attribute of self-confidence is a smile. Someone who is smiling and someone who gestures with their hands.

That’s another sign of being self-confident. And another sign is eye contact, looking directly at the person when you speak to them. So if you do all of those things, like a checklist, if you say, “Okay, I’m giving this talk. I’m standing up tall. I’m smiling. I’m looking at everybody. I’ve got a loud speaking voice. I’m gesturing.” You will appear self-confident and then people will think that you are self-confident, and you will be self-confident. And so what you have is something called a self-fulfilling prophecy. So imagine what a self-confident person is like. Do those things. And when you do them, you will appear self-confident and people will see you as a self-confident individual.

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