Read time: 3 minutes
“Confidence doesn’t come before doing the scary thing. It comes from doing the scary thing.”
That’s Nausheen I. Chen’s philosophy on public speaking. In fact, that’s Nausheen’s philosophy on speaking, full stop. Whether you’re giving a presentation at work, talking on a zoom call, or you’ve been asked to contribute in a meeting, speaking up and out can be terrifying.
In last week’s webinar, speaking coach, multiple Ted X presenter, and all-round legend, Nausheen, shared her advice on how to speak on camera with more confidence.
🛣️ her journey to becoming an executive speaking coach
🔈 why it’s important to project confidence
⭕ how to build positive feedback loops into your speaking opportunities
Watch the full webinar back above, or read on for the key takeaways.
🌟 Why is it important to be confident on camera?
The two biggest reasons why it’s important to speak confidently are building trust with your audience, and conveying authority. But we all know that is easier said than done.
😥 What does a lack of confidence look like?
In her experience working as a speaking coach, Nausheen generally notices that people fall in to one of two camps when there confidence is low:
- They’ll speak with a lack of energy, hesitate to believe in themselves, and avoid looking at the camera.
- They’ll speak too fast, forget to enunciate, and ignore their audience.
You might think back to some of your previous speaking opportunities and reflect on having some of these behaviours yourself. They’re easily done.
Naushen explains that learning to speak with confidence involves both inner and outer work. You can learn to put on a show, but it doesn’t mean you’ll always feel confidence behind it. Just doing that outer performance, doesn’t mean you’re confident on the inside.
💡Learn to create positive feedback loops
The key to having inner and outer confidence when it comes to speaking, is creating positive feedback loops.
- What you can do before you speak
- What you can during speaking
- And what you can do after you’re done speaking to create these feedback cycles
Things to do before speaking
Let’s say you have a big presentation which you’re both excited and nervous about. Nausheen’s tip is learning how to turn yourself on 💡
This can take many different shapes and forms. For some people, this means calming your nerves, for others, it’s about meditating and breathing, and then taking that calm energy and turning it on for the audience.
Find your calm by taking at least 5 minutes to warm up before you speak. You should aim to physically warm up (just like you would before a workout), vocally warm up (get your voice ready to go), and expressively warm up (prime your face and brain to be expressive). You can watch Nausheen’s warm-up exercises (and Joe’s participation!) at 29:20.
Things to do during speaking
So, you’re all warmed up and it’s time to go. You head into your meeting and you immediately don’t know what to focus on. Here’s Nausheen’s magic formula – pay attention to your voice, your energy and your body language. If you can think about those three things from the beginning, you’re going to come across more confident, clear, concise and impactful.
Make sure you are varying the way you use your voice. Are you pausing to add drama to your story, are you getting the audience excited? Varying your tone is important for keeping your audience engaged. The second thing you should be doing is enunciating. When you’re speaking on camera, you have to stop mumbling.
Are you talking about something you’re excited about? Is the topic a sombre one? Make sure the energy you bring matches the energy you want your audience to feel.
Last, but certainly not least, think about your body language. When you are on camera, only your top half is visible. Are you projecting openness? Can the audience see your hands? A little bit of prep in advance can help you to understand where the frame is, and give the listener more context as to who you are and why you’re worth listening to.
Things to do after speaking
So often, we finish big, scary things, and jump straight into the next thing without thinking about it. Nausheen believes that it’s important to take time to debrief. In order to feel proud and confident in yourself, you need to close the feedback loop. If you’re not giving feedback to yourself after every single speaking opportunity, then you’re not understanding your strengths and opportunities, and you’re not congratulating yourself. This doesn’t have to take long, but it can make a huge difference.