5 Tips to Speak with Confidence at Work

Speak with Confidence at Work

If you’re someone who absolutely dreads speaking up at work, you’re not alone. For many people, public speaking is their number one fear, and it’s understandable. We are social creatures – we have an innate desire to connect to each other, to be accepted by one another, even to impress one another. And when we give a presentation or have a one-on-one meeting with our bosses, those are chances to be rejected, to fail, to be cast out.  

BUT every one of those experiences is also an opportunity to do exactly the thing that we all want – connect. The problem is that a lot of us focus on everything that can go wrong rather than everything that can be gained from a successfully delivered speech. The benefits drastically outweigh the possible downsides, so it’s time to start focusing on the good. 

If you have a meeting or some sort of speech coming up at work that you’re are dreading, here are five simple tips to help you relax, feel more confident, and focus on the positive: 

1. Stand like Superman. 

Research has shown that standing in a power pose can actually boost your mood and your confidence in a matter of minutes. It’s sounds silly, but literally taking a few minutes to stand with your feet apart, your chest up, and your hands on your hips (like Superman) is a great way to feel bigger, stronger, and more capable. It’s a little mind trick that can work wonders before a big presentation. 

2. Prepare, prepare, prepare. 

If you’re giving a speech, read it out loud at least three times before delivering it to practice your pacing, reword any tricky parts, and just generally get comfortable with your words. If you’re giving a presentation or having a serious conversation, you probably don’t want to be fully memorized, but you do want to know your material inside and out. Having answers to every big question ready to go will help you feel more confident. 

3. Stop preparing and take a walk. 

Once you know your stuff, it’s actually best not to rehearse right up to the last minute. Instead, literally go take a walk. Walk around your office building or in the park next to your work. Get the blood flowing, get out some of your nervous energy, and maybe run over a few points from your presentation in your head. The act of walking will help you relax and feel more confident. 

4. Pick up a few mantras. 

Again, it sounds silly, but mantras can be incredibly powerful things. Finding a few simple sentences that you can repeat in your head during times of stress can help alleviate tension and bring you toward a state of mindfulness – not analyzing the moment your living as you’re living it, but instead just being present in the moment without judgement. One of my favorites is “Only good things can happen.” In most cases, it’s true. If you flub a salary negotiation, for example, it’s not like you’ll get a pay cut. Only good things can come out of that conversation. 

5. Plan ahead. 

Being a good planner and knowing yourself are key parts of exuding confidence, even if you aren’t actually as confident as you appear. For example, if you know from past experience that you’re likely to sweat during a presentation, wear clothes that will keep you cool and that won’t show sweat so that you don’t need to worry. Or if you know your throat is likely to get dry, bring along your own water bottle, just in case. If you know red nail polish makes you feel more powerful, by all means wear it. 

For more practical advice or for executive speech coaching services, give our office a call. A Chicago speech coach can help you turn your dread for public speaking into excitement about the opportunities that each chance to speak holds.