Public Speaking

3 Simple Steps for Becoming a Confident Speaker

3 Simple Steps for Becoming a Confident Speaker
Image credit: Jason Wen | Flickr
Reader Resource

Position yourself for growth in 2017—join us live at the Entrepreneur 360 Conference in Long Beach, Calif. on Nov. 16. Secure Your Seat »

Can you remember the first time you spoke in front of a group? My own "first" happened in front of 30 people. My hands were shaking, my legs trembling. “G-g-g-g-good morning everyone. Today I will talk about…”

Related: Is This Your Year to Speak -- and Get Paid?

After that failure, I did whatever it took to overcome my fear of public speaking. I read books on presentations.I watched TED talks. I worked with public speaking coaches.

Fast-forward a few months, to when I spoke in front of 200 people. I was still nervous about public speaking but I knew the audience wanted me to succeed. So, instead of focusing on my own fears, I focused on serving my audience. And in that way I became a confident speaker. 

I’ve since discovered three simple steps to becoming a confident speaker, and created the Expressive Leader System. I teach these steps to thousands of business leaders, helping them to speak with confidence and make a bigger impact.

Apply these three simple steps so you too will become a confident speaker:

1. Prepare.

While preparing for my speech, I was at a loss about what I should say. Hall of Fame speaker Patricia Fripp later asked me, “If you could have one sentence instead of the entire talk, what would you say?”

My message was, “Go for your dreams and never give up.” Using that as a guide, I came up with personal stories that people could relate to. In just minutes, I wrote an entire memorable speech. 

The takeaway: Create a clear overall message so you know exactly what to say.

Related: 5 Easy Ways to Become a Better Public Speaker -- Fast

2. Practice, with a coach.

Practice doesn’t always make perfect. But practice augmented by coaching will help you greatly improve. I wanted to have a powerful voice, so I worked with celebrity voice coach Roger Love. He has a track record of having worked with successful entrepreneurs, including Tony Robbins and Suze Orman. 

So, with Love's help, I learned to do voice exercises before speaking, to warm up my voice. The more I practiced, the more confident I became. I now have a powerful voice. 

The takeaway: If you want to practice public speaking more effectively, get coaching.

3. Perform.

Confident speakers are performers. They express ideas effectively and confidently. 

I once had to speak in front of a group of CEOs over age 50. I worried that they might say, “You’re too young. You’re not qualified to speak here.” And then I remembered what Richard Branson had taught me: “Picture you’re talking to friends in the living room.” 

I arrived at the venue early. I talked to audience members: “Hi, I’m Jonathan, it’s good to meet you.” Once I was on stage, people no longer thought of me as a stranger. I was a friend. 

After the talk, people said, “Jonathan, I liked your talk. Can you be my public speaking coach?” 

The takeaway: Picture yourself talking to friends in your living room, so you will be more relaxed and in control.

How do any of us become confident speakers? Prepare, practice, perform.

Use the Expressive Leader System so you can confidently share your message and make a big impact. 

Related: 7 Powerful Public Speaking Tips From One of the Most-Watched TED Talks Speakers