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Layers of Confidence

As I mentioned recently, I’ve been doing more speaking again. A recent talk I was invited to do was on “Confidence in Public Speaking“. At first, I wasn’t even sure how to approach this because I still don’t feel that confident as a speaker. But then I reflected on some of what I’d learnt in Ultraspeaking and made some notes. I realised I kind of had a framework I had been using in the back of my mind.

To help develop confidence in public speaking, start from the definition of CONFIDENCE (of which there are 3):

  1. The feeling/belief that one can have faith in or rely on someone or something “I have confidence in my team”
  2. The state of feeling certain about the truth of something “say with confidence that I have never felt this nervous before”
  3. The feeling of self-assurance arising from an appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities “she’s brimming with confidence”

Looking at those definitions, I realised that they interact at two different levels– that of perception and reality.

From the perspective of you, me, the public speaker,

  1. Definition 1, about having faith in or relying on, is about the audience having confidence in you as a speaker. So it’s largely based on an external perception (the audience) of the external reality (what the speaker puts out). You can manage this through the way you present yourself, the way you dress, your body language etc.
  2. Definition 2, about certainty about the truth of something, is about you having confidence in your content (required for the audience to have confidence in it). This is then based on an internal perception of the internal reality. This requires you to speak from what you know so that you can be authentic.
  3. Definition 3, about self-assurance and appreciation of one’s abilities, is about you having confidence in yourself as a speaker. This is entirely based on an internal perception but of a perceived internal reality (that we then project externally). This is the crux of confidence and requires you to change your thoughts, have faith in yourself and practice.

There are obviously various strategies and tactics to improve on your confidence in all these. But understanding these layers is a good first step. Let me know if you want to hear more about this.

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