Speak up! Public speaking tips for women

Leave that fear of public speaking behind. YOU can step into the spotlight and speak up with confidence

The glass ceiling has cracked. Women’s success in business is recognised more than ever before. We have more and more female leaders to use as role models. Yet many women still struggle with self-doubt, especially when speaking at meetings or events. Here are some tips to help you build your credibility when you’re putting yourself in the limelight.

Get physical

When you’re feeling unsure, your posture and body language will shift. Fidgeting hands, hunched shoulders or crossed arms tell your audience ‘I’m nervous.’ They make you appear less credible. So it’s time to pay attention to your physical presence. Stand tall, with open body language and steady eye contact. Keep your shoulders relaxed and your chest open. This makes you look confident and it keeps you relaxed, too.

Pace yourself

When you’re nervous, your breathing and speaking pace will tend to accelerate. This will signal to your audience that you’re edgy. And if you speak too quickly, you’ll leave your audience behind. So you need to slow down. Take deeper and slower breaths before you speak. Speak a fraction more slowly than usual. Slowing down will make you appear more in control and help you modulate the pitch of your voice.

Use language that resonates

Words and phrases such as ‘probably’ or ‘possibly’ will soften your sentences. And this can diminish your credibility. It’s time to use more powerful language. Lose the fuzzy phrases and make statements that resonate with credibility. For example ‘Here’s an example’ or ‘My experience is.’ Aim to showcase your expertise, experience and passion for your topic.

Prepare…prepare…prepare

If you know your stuff, people will believe in you. Thoroughly research and prepare your content. Always be authentic, accurate and truthful in what you say. And remember your audience. Use the word ‘you’ more than you use ‘I’. Make what you say matter to the people who are listening to you.

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