How to Be a Confident Speaker

This is Part 1 of a 5 Part Series on How to Be a Fearless & Compelling Speaker, each part covering one of the 5 parts, Confidence, Clarity, Authority, Authenticity, and Engagement. In Part 1, we delve into Confidence, the foundation of being a compelling speaker.

Confident speakers are engaging to listen to because confidence itself is engaging. So, how do you become a confident public speaker? Obviously, it takes practice and dedication. But that’s not all. Why? Because...

"Confidence comes from being prepared." 

Here are a few tips to help you be totally prepared. Do these and you will be a confident public speaker:

#1 Preparation Begins With Planning 

Whether you accept a speaking request or you are hosting your own in person workshop or virtual event, your first step is to begin preparing weeks in advance. If interested in my free Speaker Request Intake Form, click here. It guides you through all the information you need to gather when requested to speak. You can also use it if you are hosting your own in person workshop or virtual event.

#2 Next, Answer this Question

Begin preparing by asking why your topic? If you’re being requested to speak, find out why the host organizer wants you to speak on your topic. Ask them what their objective is. If you are organizing your own workshop (in person or virtual), ask why you are speaking on your topic — what do you want your audience to learn? What are the 3 to 5 objectives for your audience?

#3 The Most Important Inquiry You Must Do

Understanding objectives is important but probably more important is to understand your audience. The key part of any presentation is your audience. Without them, there is no presentation. There are several questions to ask such as their gender, age, culture, race, interest and knowledge of your topic, what they have recently experienced as a group, why they would be interested in your topic, and what they want to get out of.

If at all possible, have the attendees answer these questions with either a questionnaire or on the registration page prior to your presentation. Then tailor your talk to them and what you learn about them. If you can find out who will be attending in advance, research each person on social media to learn more about them. Ask the host organizer about them as well.

#4 Handle the Tech in Advance

Virtual events require a different kind of tech prep than speaking in person. For a virtual event, you need to determine what platform you’ll use (Zoom, Teams, etc.). If you will be narrating slides, you’ll have the slides to prepare. During a virtual event, you’ll want to have a production assistant who can handle the tech during the event so you can focus on your presentation and engaging your audience. Then plan what you will do with the recording after the virtual event.

Both a virtual event or an in person event that you are hosting will require a registration page whether on your website or a site like Eventbrite. Both also require promoting on social media and emails for confirming their registration, reminders, and follow up.

Without planning in advance, your confidence will be undermined. But planning and implementing in advance will give you confidence. Creating a checklist of the things that you need to do can be used over and over again and makes everything a lot easier.

#5 Handle Any Nervousness

If your upcoming speaking engagement causes you to be nervous, you need to know the four steps to eliminate nervousness. Grab my free training here.

#6 Create an Outline for Your Talk

Once you have clarity around the objectives of your talk and understand your audience, you’re ready to create an outline. One tool you will love to use when preparing a talk, is to record your thoughts using

Otter is a great tool for recording and transcribing. I find that it’s about 90% accurate. Once you have recorded your thoughts, download the transcription and use it to create your outline.

For a virtual event, you’ll create more of a script and add reminders for audience participation. For an in-person event, you should have just an outline with reminders for audience participation.

#7 Handouts & Props

Handouts and props are important tools to engage your audience. When you create your outline, think about what handouts and props you’ll need. Handouts would be something for people to take notes. You might also want to have a Speaker One Sheet about you. You could have a sheet on what hashtags to use if they post anything or tweet about the event.

Props might be a white board, a flip chart, signage, door prizes, books, or any other items that relate to your talk.

#8 Practice, Practice, Practice

NEVER. WING. IT. Always practice your talk a couple of times especially two weeks prior to your talk. And when you rehearse, include how you’re going to engage the audience.

The point of rehearsing is to get familiar with your topic and to time your talk. You’re building your confidence by rehearsing and if you have done everything listed, you will be ready to rehearse. You will feel good about having done all this work.

You’ll be thinking:

“Hey, I feel prepared. I’m ready to take this on. I’ve worked on it. I’ve worked hard. I’ve created my outline. I’ve researched my audience. I’ve rehearsed. I’m doing the four steps to eliminate my anxiety. I’m ready to take this on and ready to make a difference for this audience.”

#9 Plan What to Wear

For a virtual event, wear something that is in contrast to your background so that you don’t blend in. Whether virtual or in person, plan what you will be wearing a couple of weeks in advance. This gives you time to make any purchases.

#10 Evaluate What Worked & What Didn’t Work

After your event is the perfect time for you to evaluate what worked and what didn’t so you can make improvements for the next time. Document your evaluation and put any improvements into practice.

#11 Put Everything in Your Calendar

A great way to remember everything that needs to be done is to put into a system — your calendar. When you have an upcoming talk, take this list and put everything into your calendar. This will help you to create a system.

About the Author

Hi! I'm Pam. I teach entrepreneurs to be fearless & compelling speakers online and in person and how to easily promote and run their own online workshops, webinars, and online courses. 

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