Building Confidence and Overcoming Fear Communication Skills What is confidence? • Confidence is the feeling you have when you believe that you are capable of handling a situation successfully. • You are not born with confidence! • It is something that anyone can develop. • Confidence is the framework of effective oral communication. What is stage fright? • Stage fright, or communication apprehension, means that a person is afraid to speak in public. • Surveys indicate that 80 to 90 percent of Americans admit to feeling extremely uncomfortable about public speaking. • A phobia is an irrational fear. – Public speaking cannot harm you! Therefore, if you have an ongoing fear of it, then you have a phobia, which is irrational and can be overcome! Common Physical Symptoms of Communication Apprehension • • • • • • • • Upset stomach Flushed face Dizziness Fast heartbeat Shortness of breath Excessive perspiration Wobbly legs Why? – The body is being flooded with energy, or adrenaline, because the person is perceiving an emergency situation. Why do we get stage fright? • The body is flooded with energy (adrenaline) because we sense an emergency situation. • We don’t like to be judged. • We don’t think our ideas are worth listening to, we don’t think we can express our ideas well, or we fear the audience won’t like us while we are speaking. • We don’t feel prepared. So how can we overcome a fear of speaking? Think your way out of uncomfortable feelings. Let your mind overcome your emotions! Perception • Perception is how you see things. • How you perceive a situation when you feel fear is often very inaccurate. • An inaccurate perception of a situation can cause a person to blow things out of proportion, or make a problem seem greater than it is. • We must learn to see things as they are rather than how our fears might lead us to see them. Perception of Your Audience • You may think that your audience automatically knows that you’re nervous. • Consider this: Studies on how well an audience perceives anxiety should comfort nervous speakers. Researchers have found that most report noticing little or no anxiety in a speaker. Even when individuals are trained to detect anxiety cues and are instructed to look for them, there is little correlation between their evaluations and how anxious speakers actually felt. (Ch. 2, p. 33) Perception of Your Speech • Consider it your opportunity to share something meaningful (your message). • It is not a performance! No Hollywood screen tests here! • The speech is an extension of yourself. It exemplifies your personality, feelings, likes, and dislikes. • The audience will not “judge” or “score” you! Perception of Yourself • Don’t compare yourself to others. • You don’t have to be perfect! • Don’t equate a few mistakes with total failure. • Mistakes are an opportunity to learn and improve! • Self-esteem, or confidence, is the result of discovering who you are, with all of your strengths and weaknesses. • We are all unique and have a lot to offer one another. Building Confidence Content Organization Notes Friendliness Impression Dedication Empathy Newness Conviction Enthusiasm Content • Have something worthwhile to say. • Do your research and develop your content. • Use a variety of sources (books, websites, magazines, newspapers, interviews, etc.). • Use a variety of appeals (logical, emotional, and ethical). Organization • Have some type of an outline that is easy for both you and your audience to follow. • Have a main idea, clear areas of analysis, and supporting evidence that fits the topic. • You always need: – An introduction that leads to – A thesis statement, – Support, details, and elaboration that proves your thesis statement, – And a conclusion that summarizes and provides an ending appeal Notes • Jot down your ideas in a brief, directed (preferably outlined) form. • Note cards to guide your speech rather than a fully written-out speech! • Avoid having too many words on one card and having too many note cards. • Do not read to your audience! • Key words and phrases to remind you. • Notes cannot substitute for preparation! Friendliness • Showing friendliness will encourage your audience to give positive feedback. • Smile and use your nonverbals. • Make eye contact. • Talk to individuals (Don’t view the audience as a mass of faceless people.) Impression • Getting off to a good start is essential in building confidence. • Smile and be positive from the moment you walk to the front. • Be well-dressed and well-groomed. • Don’t detract from your message. Dedication • Practice. Practice. Practice. • Try to simulate the real thing. • Become acquainted with your voice and how to use it. • Practice looking at people while delivering your speech. • Practice your gestures. • Practice movement. Empathy • Know how it feels to feel that way. • Empathy is a sincere understanding of the feelings, thoughts, and motives of others. • How is your audience feeling? What is important to them? • Make an attempt to “put yourself in their shoes.” • Try to find common ground with your audience. Newness • Apply some originality. • Gives confidence to have something new to say. • Take a different approach or slant to the topic. • Use a clever anecdote, meaningful quote, artwork, charts or graphs, or tell a personal story. Conviction • Believe in what you say. • Some speech topics can be boring unless you add your own special dimension of personal conviction. (Create a value statement out of a “boring” topic.) • If you are confident about the importance of your message, then your audience is more likely to be persuaded. Enthusiasm • • • • Get fired up! You need energy! Great outlet for nervous energy. Intellectual enthusiasm comes from the sharpness of mind that your research brings. • Physical enthusiasm comes from your energetic nonverbal communication.