3 tips to build your public speaking confidence

What being in Digital Ambassadors taught me about using my voice to take positive action

Posted on September 1, 2021 by Gian Rizza

I bet if you asked everyone in their class if they could get up in front of the group and do a presentation with absolutely no time to prepare most people would stare at you in wide-eyed terror.

Public speaking is a really common fear – like, REALLY common, but there are things we can do to build our confidence and get better at it.

I’m Gian, and I’ve been a PROJECT ROCKIT presenter for almost 2 years now – maybe you just watched me host one of Digital Ambassadors events, powered by Facebook and Instagram? 😎 

Now, I’m going to let you in on a secret – if you told me 3 years ago that my job was literally going to be public speaking in front of young people across the country EVERYDAY, I would have laughed in your face…then run away just in case you were going to make me do some public speaking. In school I was suuuuuper shy. People talked over me when I tried to speak, when we were reading out of the textbook in class, I would practice my paragraph in my head before I had to read it out loud, because I was so nervous.

So how did that person become someone who can confidently get up in front of hundreds of strangers and start a convo everyday?

Quiz Time!

Does being shy stop you from speaking out on issues you care about?

Yeah, it does

Not really

 

I was really over feeling controlled by my nerves around public speaking, so when I was offered the opportunity to be in the Digital Ambassadors workshop I went against my knee-jerk instinct to run for the hills and accepted. 

Walking into PROJECT ROCKIT HQ on the day of filming, my stomach was in knots and I was trying to act calm. An entire film crew were discussing things I’d never even heard of, let alone understood (shoutout to the legends at Momentum Studios!) and I knew it was on me – this was a moment I could change my relationship with public speaking and fake confidence.

Here’s my 3 tips for shaking off the nerves and becoming a better public speaker

Tip 1: It pays to be prepared

Even though I’d presented in front of crowds before, as soon as I was standing in front of the camera I got nervous, confused and forgot everything I’d practiced. 

When it comes to public speaking, performing or presenting, it’s super important to be prepared. In some cases, that might mean literally sitting down and learning lines, but in other cases, preparing might just mean going to a quiet space and getting into a zone where you can focus on what you’re going to say. Often, the best practice you can get is just doing it. So the more speeches you give, performances you do or or presentations you run, the easier it’ll be each time!

Tip 2: Get in “the zone”

Nerves often get the best of us. While we were filming, I was so anxious that even when I knew what I wanted to say, I’d stumble over my words and end up making mistakes. For times like these, we need to find ways to anchor ourselves.

An anchor can be anything, as long as it gives you a way to calm yourself and get in the zone. Your anchor might be going for a walk to clear your mind, or writing your thoughts down to get them out of your head. Maybe talking to someone else can help vent all your anxieties, or doing some push ups to burn all that nervous-energy. We all have different anchors, try some different ones to find what works best for you.

Tip 3: Talk about your passions

Even though I was SUPER nervous on the day, I knew that no matter how many mistakes I made, eventually I’d get it right. And the reason why I knew that was because Digital Ambassadors teaches about something I’m genuinely passionate about. I cared enough about the content to know that it’s not about me putting myself out there – it’s about sharing something wonderful!

If you truly care about the topic you’re presenting, your own nervousness won’t matter to you, because you feel like it has to be said. And when it’s bigger than you, the little things don’t stack up as much! It’ll feel less like it’s about you, and more about saying something important.

It’s okay to not be confident. Someone wise once said “public speakers are made, not born” and it’s so true. If you ever want to build up your ability to speak up about the things you care about, remember that confidence is a skill – and that means it can be learned! Just be prepared, calm yourself, and talk about the things that matter to you most.