Image from: iStock (Yuri_Arcurs)
Are you a confident speaker?
Some of you may say, “Yes! I always feel like I can command a room.” Some of you may say, “No! I never feel like I know what I’m doing.” But most of you are probably in the middle. Your confidence level likely depends on many different factors: “What am I speaking about? Who am I speaking to? How long do I need to speak for?”
While how confident you feel on the inside can vary by the day, you should always communicate that you are confident on the outside — and the more confident you appear on the outside, the more confident you’ll feel on the inside.
Here are three strategies for projecting confidence
1. Stay in sync
One of the ways you can project confidence is by making sure your communication is fully integrated. That means your facial expressions, gestures, and words must all work together to form a cohesive whole.
If you send mixed signals to your audience, you won’t project confidence; you’ll project confusion — like when video and audio are out of sync. So if you say you’re proud, your behavior better reflect that (don’t say it in a deadpan manner). If you’re able to integrate your communication, you will communicate to your audience that you are confident in what you are saying.
2. Use proper eye contact
Another way you can communicate confidence is with eye contact. This is a no-brainer — if you can’t even look people in the eye, they surely won’t see you as confident.
But using proper eye contact doesn’t mean you’re never allowed to look away: Eye contact should last for about five seconds per person, or per section of the audience if you’re speaking to large group. Also, you don’t necessarily need to look directly at someone’s eyes: Feel free to look at the area around the eyes and nose (like what would be covered if they were wearing a sleeping mask).
3. Find the fun
Finally, if you want to project confidence, you need to find the fun. Even at the most serious board meetings, you can use imagery that adds creativity.
While “the perfect storm” of headwinds and tailwinds may be a cliché at this point, a colorful example like that will definitely stir up a little interest and increase your fun. Telling a story with images is much more intriguing than just going over the numbers.
Your confidence level when you speak depends on a number of factors. But by using these three strategies, you will communicate confidence to your audience — no matter how you feel on the inside.