Locate your confidence in public speaking

A while ago, I went to see an event with a good friend of mine.  We got talking afterwards about the speaker on show.

‘I couldn’t do that.’ Remarked my friend.

Why?

Because I’m not confident enough.

Something immediately struck me about this comment; it was said with an absolute assuredness.

And yet- what is confidence? Is it how we present ourselves externally, or something deeper?

We often mistake apparent confidence for insecurity. Do you know somebody who loves to talk about where they have been, what they do for living, or how much money they have? What’s important to remember here is, who are they telling?  This is not confidence, this is ego talking borne out of insecurity.

So . . Something deeper then.  

Confidence is about trust- not the intangible and wavering feeling but in one’s own resources.

Clients will often say to me, In some ways I’m really confident and in other ways I’m shy. The key thing to acknowledge here is the self realisation that the feeling of ‘confidence’ does exist; otherwise how do they recognise it?

I put this thought to my friend.

‘Yes, but getting up in front of people to speak is totally different to what I do normally’

Well . . yes. . of course it is. However, how do any us gain confidence in what we do? We learn, we make mistakes, we hone, we make more mistakes, and after a while a system starts to emerge and a trust starts to develop in our given skill and with it our confidence increases. But that only happens once you have committed to something new, once you are prepared to go outside of your comfort zone and grow.

So how do you take the first step towards locating your confidence?

You must use the resources within yourself that reinforce the feeling of trust and in turn confidence. What if you could take the feeling of confidence in something you excel at and move it into something where you don’t trust yourself yet?  Feeling confident or not isn’t about your ability to do something outside you’re comfort zone.  It’s about where you choose to place to your focus. The best public speakers didn’t start by thinking I will be amazing, they started by thinking – it’s ok if I’m not amazing. To think in this way means the person doesn’t expect excellence initially, but is willing to trust their own resources to become excellent.  

Let’s look at an example-

Person A- is a doctor and has been asked to speak to a large group, they’ve never done this before and don’t feel confident.

Ok, so what resources or strengths might be transferrable to help remind this person how capable and confident they actually are.

Speaking to patients, leading a small team of junior doctors, the knowledge that they studied for several years demonstrating resilience and achievement.

Very quickly a different person starts to emerge, a person who has used their confidence throughout their life and continues to use it daily.

If you choose to place your focus on negative resources such as your fear of failing, or worrying if the auidence will like you,  then you will sit inside your own mind, unable to see or access your confidence.  This mindset will harden and calcify in difficult times or perhaps when watching fantastic public speakers thinking  ‘I couldn’t possibly do that.’

Our sense of possibility only narrows when we don’t trust ourselves, and our confidence diminishes when we don’t acknowledge our own resources. 

Trusting your own experiences and strengths to gain confidence isn’t the preserve of the few, it is in all of us.

Your confidence is within you. It always has been, and always will be.

Whether you choose to find it,  is up to you.

Hide and Seek

Sometimes; when the mood strikes I break into a strange form of dance. It has no name or origin and might be better described as a collection of movements. When the moment comes my family recoil with a mixture of horror and amusement, and it doesn’t take long for them to lovingly remind me I have two left feet. This of course only encourages me, as I descend further into the depth of my imagination and inner clown.

We all have parts of ourselves that we only share with a chosen few. It maybe your funny little dance  or any other of your idiosyncrasies, but you’re happy to let go and be vulnerable because it’s a safe environment where you feel safe and loved.

However.

How many of us are willing to share our uniqueness with colleagues or strangers? This can be for good reason, we may feel we need to conform to the company ethos or what is expected of us. You want to be professional. Fine.

But look a little deeper and what is happening here is indictive of what we do in life generally. You suppress who you really are as you try to control what others think of you. This stems from a lack of trust that you are enough.  

This is particualrly pertinent when you have to do any form of public speaking in your job. You fall back on old patterns which hide your vulnerabilities and uniqueness as you strive for respectability from others. It becomes very difficult to listen and engage as all you’re concerned about is masking how you really feel. You speak in your telephone voice, you body language changes, your vernacular changes.

You change.

So what is the difference between being professional and sharing yourself?

Professionalism is a necessity, without it there is no discipline or structure to your work.

Sharing who you are is a necessity, without it you can’t listen and connect with people.

The truth is, you need both to succeed. I often talk to my clients about a relaxed concentration. It is the ability to know your stuff and trust it, but more importantly it is the ability to communicate it with ease, warmth and charm.

The ability to share when it matter most.

We are all individual. We are all unique. We all have something to share. The only thing that separates us is where we place our focus.

So the next time it’s your turn to speak-

Remember your funny little dance, remember what makes you- you.

I’m here to help- get in touch.

What is Confidence?

A while ago, when normality ruled. I went to see a comedy gig with a good friend of mine.  We got talking afterwards about the comedian on show.

‘I couldn’t do that.’ Remarked my friend.

Why?

Because I’m not confident enough.

Something immediately struck me about this comment; it was said with an absolute assuredness.

And yet- what is confidence? Is it how we present ourselves externally, or something deeper?

We often mistake apparent confidence for insecurity. Do you know somebody who loves to talk about where they have been, what they do for living, or how much money they have? What’s important to remember here is, who are they telling?  This is not confidence, this is ego talking borne out of insecurity.

So . . Something deeper then.  

Confidence is about trust- not the intangible and wavering feeling but in one’s own resources.

Clients will often say to me, In some ways I’m really confident and in other ways I’m shy. The key thing to acknowledge here is the self realisation that the feeling of ‘confidence’ does exist; otherwise how do they recognise it?

I put this thought to my friend.

‘Yeah, but getting up in front of people is totally different to what I do’

Well . . yes. . of course it is. However how do any us gain confidence in what we do? We learn, we make mistakes, we hone, we make more mistakes, and after a while a process starts to emerge and a trust starts to develop in our given skill and with it our confidence increases.

But that only happens once we have committed to something new, once we are prepared to get outside of our comfort zone and grow. So how do we take that first step?

We must use resources within ourselves that reinforce the feeling of trust and in turn confidence. Like driving your car. You don’t think about it consciously – you just trust you can drive the car.  If we choose to place our focus on the negative resources of our fears and doubts – like failing at an exam – we then sit inside our own mind, unable to see our strengths. 

This mindset is hardened and calcified in difficult times or when we’re watching comedians thinking  ‘I couldn’t possibly do that.’

Well, how did you get in the car for the first time?

Our sense of possibility only narrows when we don’t trust ourselves, and our confidence diminishes when we don’t acknowledge our own resources. 

Trusting your own experiences to gain confidence isn’t the preserve of the few, it is in all of us.

Is it there. It always has been, and always will be.

Whether you choose to find it,  is up to you.

If this sounds familiar then please get in touch.

To do … or not to do

“If I write it down, then I’ll definitely do it.”

I have often thought this when writing my infamous to do list. It’s a wide-ranging and often dubious reminder of what I’m not doing or avoiding.

Paint fence
Power wash the drive.

Even the more basic things find a way of appearing
Post letter
Go to bank

It got to the point where I considered having a to-do list for existing
Get up
Brush Teeth

I often laughed at my inability to live without a list.

However, I began to notice the comfort of what putting things in future (without actually doing the vast majority of it) was bringing me. Why write about doing something, feel better and then do nothing? Surely the point is to take action!?

I started to go further. If I was procrastinating about the small things, what about bigger things? How much of my ambition and career focus was I putting into the mythical future? When I did sit and think about what I wanted to achieve, it sometimes felt overwhelming. The truth is there can be a disconnect between want and belief. We know what we’d like to do, but we put barriers in the way, and potential what if’s.

It’s similar to when people want to go travelling. ‘What if we get stuck?’ What if we run out of money? Probably best if I don’t go. What we miss is that the ‘what if’s’ are what makes the journey worthwhile. What we learn about ourselves and the confidence we gain are invaluable. It’s important to remember that the journey is more important than the end goal. However, the journey only begins when we take action and put ourselves in a position to fail.

I’ve stopped writing things down, and instead I’ve got a clear goal of what I want to achieve. I set a time frame and focus my energy into the small individual steps needed to get there.

Which reminds me, I need to paint the fence.

I just need to find the brush…

If this sounds familiar, drop me an email. I’d love to help you.

Carpe Diem

Wendy has just asked me (for the third time this week) to put the lid back on the coffee. It’s vital I remember this as the coffee will dry out, which will affect the taste and the aroma. These things are important; apparently.

Quite a while ago, a friend of mine asked me to do him a favour. He was booked to do a short film but had to cancel at the last minute due to family circumstances. He asked if I would step in and take his place, as he didn’t want to let the producer down. I hesitated at first. I’d been working all week and was looking forward to a weekend off, plus it wasn’t paid and I didn’t know anybody involved. However, my friend was persuasive. He offered to pay my bus fare and buy me a beer… oh go on then.

I arrived on set and got chatting to some people huddling around a little fan heater. One of the guys there was called Brian and we hit it off straight away. I started telling him that I wanted to go into teaching or coaching to supplement my acting. He mentioned his agent had just started an acting school, and it be would worth giving him a call to see if he could offer me anything. I didn’t really think much of it, to be honest. Well actually I did – surely he would be set up already?

The day came to an end and Brian and I swapped numbers.

A couple of weeks later I was running to catch a train and I missed it. Brilliant. As I stood on the platform trying to stop my feet from going numb I got a tap on the shoulder. It was Brian. He had been at a meeting that had overrun and was on his way home. He asked if I’d called his agent about the possible job opportunity. I hadn’t and I made some excuse about being really busy. The truth was I didn’t really believe his agent would be interested. I had no experience and I felt cheeky walking in off the street.

Brian’s train arrived and we said goodbye.

On the way home I started to think about the chain of events. I had met a stranger on a job, who I got on with very well. He offered me an opportunity, but I hadn’t done anything about it. By total coincidence I met him again, and again he mentioned the opportunity.

Maybe I should give his agent a call?

The day after I called Darren, Brians agent. He asked me to come in for a meeting. I went in and we had a really good chat. He was about to do a short summer course, which he asked me to work on with him. He thought this would be ideal as it would give us a chance to have a look at each other and see if we could work together more permanently. Darren and I got on great and I finished the summer course knowing I’d made a good impression.

How many times in life do we turn opportunity down because we’re tired or busy? Or maybe we don’t believe in ourselves, or are unwilling to take a leap of faith? Luckily for me, I said yes to a friend and made a new friend who introduced me to Darren. Ten years later I still work with him.

Oh, and something else happened too  …

On the first session of the course, I met a girl who claims to this day she didn’t fancy me initially (which I think was just lies). As it turns out she did like me after all, so much so that we now have two beautiful girls together.

Her name is Wendy, and she likes her coffee with the lid on.

If this sounds familiar, drop me an email. I’d love to help you.