Building Self Confidence
Consider jokes as the perfect analogy here. Have you ever heard a very funny joke from a comedian and which you really wanted to share with your friends? Well, you might have discovered that the same joke that got you rolling on the floor woefully failed to amuse your friends one bit.
They didn’t laugh as you expected not because the joke had lost any measure of sense, but because the one who’s saying it [you] didn't say it as skilfully as the original comedian did it. The joke is the same, but the jokers are different.
Likewise, if you’re given a professionally well-written speech you still might not be able to pull a wonderful delivery. So, like a joke, how you deliver the content matters as much as the content itself.
Here are a few ways in which you, the speaker/presenter, can prepare yourself [not the speech this time] for facing the audience. Bear in mind that these methods serve to prepare the speaker and not the speech.
 Use a mirror
 Speak before a friend
 Make it your story
- Getting a good fund of stories, and
- Telling them without self-consciousness.
A few short recitations, thoroughly memorised, may also be used as a means of accustoming yourself to facing an audience.
 Use a video-tape
 Arm yourself with knowledge
A man who has the facts may readily be forgiven for lack of ability in presenting them, but one who stands to speak before others without proper knowledge of his subject is justly regarded as a pretender. And God help you if you're presenting to a technical audience full of experts in the same field!
 Watch others speak
Get yourself videos, tapes and written speeches of great orators and study them. There are countless numbers out there on the Internet. Just do a Google search. Look for speeches by masters like Winston Churchill, Dale Carnegie, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., Barack Obama, Charles de Gaulle, Mao Zedong, Napoleon Bonaparte, and so on. Get videos as well as transcripts of their speeches. Learn how they combine various rhetorical tools to add power to their speeches.
Watching the masters do something is a sure way to build inspiration. And a healthy dose of inspiration is a very good way to cultivate confidence in public speaking. Give it a try, today!
Adapted from “How to Develop Self-confidence in Speech and Manner” by Grenville Kleiser (Funk and Wagnalls, 1910)