Many years ago, when I was doing my Masters of Architecture, I remember having to present my final project in front of the whole class.
I sat there and watched as my classmates went up, one by one, to have their work completely destroyed by a particularly harsh tutor. I watched on in horror, only imagining what awful things she would say about MY work when it was my turn.
My hands got clammy, my tummy tied up in knots, and my heart was thumping overtime. By the time I got up to present, I was visibly shaking.
I rushed my way through the presentation, only wishing it was already over. As soon as my presentation was over, I ran to the bathroom and burst into uncontrollable sobs. Frankly, I don’t even think the tutor was that mean to me, but I had worked myself up into such a frenzy that my mind and body simply could no longer cope.
Fast forward to February 2016. I was in the Philippines on a vocational speaking tour with Rotary International.
I had been scheduled to speak at various universities and colleges around Manila on the topics of entrepreneurship and communication skills. One particular gig, I spoke to an auditorium of 500 graduate business students — my biggest audience ever.
At the end of my presentation, during Q&A, one student stood up and said: “Ms Canters, we see in your bio that you like to sing. Can you sing us a song?”
What was I to do? So I took a deep breath, and belted out my best rendition of I Still Call Australia Home, which of course received an adoring round of applause and a standing ovation.
When I walked off that stage, I didn’t run to the bathroom to cry, instead I ran to the front of the room where I took a bunch of selfies with my new fans.
And I remember realising in that moment…
…how far I had come as a speaker.
Building up the confidence to not only speak, but also sing to an audience of 500…that didn’t just happen on its own.
You see, back when I was a crumbling mess at university, I vowed that I would never let that happen to me again, and so I set out to learn everything I could about the skill of speaking. And after a while, I discovered that confidence can be approached the same way.
And confidence is important, because you can intellectually understand the technical aspects of speaking — great structure, tone, pace, etc…but if your nerves get the better of you, it holds you back from being as effective as you could be.
In this presentation I gave recently at the Toastmasters D73 Convention, I share 5 powerful tools you can implement to help you build up your confidence as a speaker.
I hope you enjoy this presentation! If you want to be confident and calm for your next public speaking experience, consider joining my Overcome Public Speaking Anxiety Course.