One the most common frustrations I hear from students is how do you actually build self-confidence with public speaking?
It sounds counter intuitive, right?
One would think, "Well, in order to public speak, I need confidence" but very few people would say that public speaking breeds self-confidence.
In fact, one of the things that people struggle with is the confidence to get started and actually take that very first step.
A lot of people say, "But I'd love to go out there and do X, Y, Z, but I'm just not confident. Maybe if I actually go out there and do some public speaking, what if no one's actually interested in what I'm talking about?"
What ends up happening is people have a real reluctance to actually do the thing that gives them the power.
But what I know is simply this: Confidence comes from competence.
I remember a long time ago that I had no idea how to dance. In fact, I was the least confident person in dancing whatsoever. I would avoid school socials at all costs. I was terrified of going anywhere near where someone might be dancing.
Then one day I decided to get some competence around dancing. So I got a Michael Jackson video clip and I had it on my VCR so I could pause it and rewind it. I watched this video clip over, and over, and over again.
Step, by step, by step, I slowly taught myself one of the dance routines from his video clip. It took me a couple of months to do it, but I got to tell you, once I developed the competence of dance, I felt significantly confident in dancing.
Cut a long story short, I did not go to the year eight social, but in the year nine social, I actually won the dance competition by breaking out and busting out this Michael Jackson routine!
So what I learned a long time ago is that if you're not confident in something, the only way you'll ever find the competence is to DO THE THING.
As the saying goes, "Do the thing, you'll have the power." You learn to play the flute by playing the flute. You learn to swim by swimming. You learn to dance by dancing, and you learn to public speak by public speaking.
In fact, there's a saying out there that says, "Amateurs practice until they get it right. Professionals practice until they can't get it wrong." Professionals are confident in what they do, because they are so well practiced that they can't get it wrong.
The other thing is they follow a proven structure, and once they know that structure inside and out, it allows them to feel incredibly comfortable in what they're doing.
The first time you do anything, you're not going to be comfortable doing it. But the more you do it and the more competent you become, the better you will get. So if there's anything I know about you becoming confident as a public speaker, it's you just have to "do the thing".
As Nike says, "Just do it."
Confidence comes from taking action.