When we grow up, we learn not to judge a book by its cover, and that we should get to know someone before we decide if we like them or not.
While this sounds good, in the competitive world of business, it doesn’t happen. This may be because people are faced with too many options, they’re solution-focused or maybe they just go with their gut instinct.
This reliance on first impressions is especially clear when clients watch public speakers. Your clients are judging you very quickly, and their impression of you is often made before you say a word or communicate your ideas.
But speaking in public with confidence is a great advantage for your business because it:
- Provides you with exposure so you stand out from your competitors
- Positions you as the expert in your industry
- Allows you to build trust and rapport with potential clients
- Allows you to scale your time as you can connect with a room full of potential clients instead of meeting each one individually
- Leads to referral opportunities as people in the audience get to know you and can pass your name along to others who need your services
Why the “Right Words” are Wrong
When I ask my clients what outcome they’re looking to get when speaking in public, the most common response is that they want the “right words” to make a great connection. But when we look at the components of effective communication, we see that what you don’t say has more of an impact than what you do say.
Your non-verbal cues, also known as non-verbals, and tonality are the most important parts of public speaking. Business professionals are often not aware of how they may be sending off signals that reduce their trustworthiness, such as:
- Positioning their body in ways that demonstrate “low power”
- Being unable to maintain steady eye contact
- Positioning their hands in ways that distract their clients
Non-verbals in public speaking are focused on during communication training. A few slight adjustments while delivering a speech can be the difference between making a great impression of trust and expertise and being negatively judged and quickly passed over.
How to Communicate Confidently in Public
There are many techniques to increase your confidence when speaking in public.
People often view public speaking as a formal presentation, but this leads people to believe they must be perfect in their delivery. But perfectionist thinking leads you down the road of trying to memorize your entire presentation, which will make you come across as inauthentic.
Instead, think of your presentation as a conversation, which will relax you, letting your real personality come through to create a genuine connection with the audience.
Reacting to Your Audience’s Non-verbals
Viewing your audience’s reaction as an indication of your performance is a common mistake. Many speakers try to interpret their audience’s reactions as indictors of their own progress. However, the audience is likely to be reserved at the start because you haven’t had the chance to win them over yet. Remember, you’re providing value that’s sure to result in a happy audience in the end.
“You Won’t Resonate with Everyone and the Sooner You Embrace It, the Better.”
One of the biggest confidence killers in public speaking is the desire to connect with the entire audience. But when you try to win over everyone, you create a connection with no one. Some clients you’ll connect with, and some you won’t, so focus your energy on those you connect with, which will lead to attracting your ideal clients.
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