8 ways to feel confident in SPEAKING TO PEOPLE
Making conversation with strangers and speaking in public takes confidence and good interpersonal skills. It is very
common to lack confidence in these areas. However, with practice and a positive outlook, you can gain confidence in
speaking to people.
1. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself
When speaking in public it is common to feel like everyone is judging every word. But they're probably not. Remember
the audience hears people speaking in public all the time – you're not doing anything unusual. It might help to look at the
back of the room, not the faces looking at you. Remember you won't look as nervous as you feel.
2. Know your subject
If you do your research you'll be confident in what you're talking about. Rehearse your presentation several times
beforehand so you know what you are going to say, how and when.
3. Stay calm and use positive body language
Breathe deeply, take your time and talk slowly and calmly. Use positive body language – stand up straight and project
your voice.
4. Use props such as slides and charts
This makes your presentation more interesting and it gets the eyes of the audience away from you for a while.
5. Choose your conversation topics wisely
Start conversations on topics everyone can talk about such as family, work, leisure time, travel and the weather. Don’t
talk about emotive topics such as politics, religion or football.
6. Make your body language work for you
Up to 80% of first impressions are formed by body language, so make it count. Show you are interested in what people
say by smiling, facing the person and making eye contact. If you lean forward and nod, it will show that you are listening.
You can use hand gestures to emphasise your point.
7. Ask questions – let others do the running
Take the pressure off yourself by making other people do the talking. Show you are a good listener and let people talk
about themselves.
8. Be upbeat and positive
Be enthusiastic about what you are saying – don’t mumble or ramble. Be clear and positive, without using 'kind of' or 'sort
of' or 'a bit' and don’t apologise for what you are saying. You can also search for courses to improve your public speaking
and interpersonal skills. Use the keywords public speaking, presentation skills and interpersonal skills.
*source National Careers Service (nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk)