Self-confidence, as a psychological construct, has been described as an attitude characterized by positive yet realistic views of oneself and one’s knowledge, skills, and abilities. Self-confident people go far in their careers because they trust their own abilities, take courage from their strong sense of personal potential, and believe that — within reason or even beyond reason — the greater scheme of things holds grand promise for them.
Self-confidence is perhaps the best possible personal attribute when delivering a presentation. Presenters who are well-composed and eloquent seem more credible than those who stammer or have a poor demeanor. Developing self-confidence, however, can be a long-term process of improving self-awareness, positive thinking, and conviction. To help you begin developing this valuable trait, let’s ponder some ideas presented by some bestselling authors in the field of self-realization.
Wishes Do Come True
As Paulo Coelho so beautifully puts it in The Alchemist, “And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
Know what you wish for, and intend to pursue it. Whether your goal is to become a well-known speaker, be featured in TED Talks, take on the challenge of speaking in front of an audience, or overcome your shyness, you have to start with a wish. When you wish for or desire something, you will be motivated. You will work hard to give a smooth presentation, prepare answers to possible questions — and you’ll enjoy every second of the process.
Plan, Don’t Just Wish
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, author of The Little Prince once said, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” In order to achieve what you wish for, you have to come up with a plan: a blueprint that will keep you on the right track.
Applied to preparing for a presentation, the quote suggests knowing your audience, your topic and your communication style. Work out on the specifics of your talk by devising a clear outline or a matrix. This can give you a broader picture of how your presentation should run. It also gives you a tool for review of your work as you go along, pointing to things that may need revision.
Part of your plan should include plenty of practice. Without practice, it’s far too easy to end up giving your audience the impression you’re just mechanically reading from a script, with no real personal involvement or conviction. Practice your delivery, including your timing. And in designing the talk itself, be sure it has a powerful and punchy introduction, a well-reasoned and sufficiently substantial body, and thought-provoking close.
Live a Successful Reality
Benjamin Hoff states, in The Te of Piglet, “Reality is what one makes it. And the more negative reality one nurtures and creates, the more of it one has.”
This tells presenters to let go of apprehensions once you’re in front of your audience. Despite your preparations, it can still be daunting to speak publicly, but just do it. Keep your listeners upbeat and hold their attention by speaking clearly and with purpose. Maintain eye contact with audience members, and avoid using jargon that few will understand. Enjoy the opportunity to express yourself creatively.
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