Public Speaking Confidence

Nervous speaker lacks public speaking confidence

Do I really have to speak to all those people?

Building Public Speaking Confidence

Why is public speaking confidence a rare commodity? Our post on how to overcome a fear of public speaking looks at some of the causes and the cures. It explains how the snowball effect – small issues building up over time – can create fears.

But sometimes it’s possible to employ  a kind of reverse snowball approach. If you look at things that have gone well you can use them to build your confidence, whether for public speaking or life in general.

Let’s look at how others have used this approach, starting with Henneke Duistermaat from Enchanting Marketing.

Henneke’s Story (In her own words)

“Have you ever spoken at a conference?

In 2014, I spoke at my first marketing conference in London.

I was a little nervous.

Would I be able to keep the audience’s attention?

My slot was just before the break. Unlucky. People would be getting tired. Perhaps they’d even sneak out to beat the toilet queues.

Some speakers before me were rambling on. I noticed people in the audience were checking their phones, and fidgeting in their seats.

I had to find a way to re-engage them.


It turned out I could keep people’s attention by applying 3 blogging techniques:

  1. I empathized with my listeners at the beginning of the talk, and I promised them how my talk would help them
  2. I focused – I knew exactly what people should remember from my talk
  3. At the end of the talk, I reminded my listeners how implementing my ideas would make their life better

I’m not a gifted speaker.

And I used to think I was too boring to write.

But blogging taught me how to engage an audience – online or on stage.

It has been liberating.

I’m now confident enough to communicate my ideas with flair. I feel connected to readers across the world. People are listening to me. I do not advertise because my blog generates all interest for my business.”

Can you empathise with Henneke? Do elements of her story ring a bell with you?

Henneke’s Alter Ego, Henrietta, gives her confidence

Read about Henrietta

Good Enough?

Before taking on a challenge, have you ever wondered, ‘Am I good enough?’ Perhaps you have suffered imposter syndrome where you question your right to be ‘on stage’, in whatever form that takes.

You may not think those exact words but that’s the general sentiment isn’t it?

Karen’s Story

Karen ran an events management company based in Cardiff. She was invited to speak at a major business event. Some of the speakers at the event were very well-known. Karen was scheduled to speak after a famous sportsman..

After he had spoken, the room emptied.

When Karen walked in there were just two or three people in the audience. Her confidence took a nose-dive.

Karen was unknown and she was about to deliver her first event speech. How could her story match that of a famous sportsman? Could she be good enough to justify her place on the stage?

And then the room filled rapidly. OK, possibly because rooms with better known speakers had reached capacity and closed their doors.

However, those who heard Karen speak that day were the lucky ones.

During the next half-hour Karen captivated her audience with business advice woven into her story of transforming from failed business to significant success.

Using simple language and painting pictures with words she delivered an unforgettable lesson in business and life in general. A speech, the key points of which, are still memorable many years later.

Queueing for Karen

Any resemblance between these people and Karen’s audience is almost certainly coincidental!

Building Public Speaking Confidence

Learning from Henneke and Karen

Henneke and Karen were delivering their first major presentations.

Both had a confidence wobble before starting to speak. But they recognised their success and used it to build their public speaking confidence.

Next time you are feeling a bit wobbly, cast your mind back to something that has gone well. Use it to reassure yourself.

You are good enough!

Read more about Fear of Public Speaking and How to Overcome It.

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