speaking infront

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The great fake off - how not to build confidence

When people say to me “I want to appear confident in front of an audience” a little alarm bell rings in my head.  I know it shouldn’t, because helping people be confident around public speaking is my job. It’s the phrase “appear confident” that worries me. It smacks of putting on a performance, trying to pretend that everything is ok.  It seems to say “If the “outside of me” looks relaxed to the audience then everything will be ok.”  But it’s a hollow wish. It’s a bit like wanting some magic makeup that makes you look cool, relaxed and powerful on the outside (if the makeup existed I’d make millions! And in the same way that a perfume can be called Poison this makeup would be called Shame)
I know there are slogans such as “fake it ‘til make you make it” that seem to give this approach credibility. However I think we need to take a step back. The word confidence comes from the Latin for complete trust. If we see it from a perspective of trust then self-confidence is all about trusting myself.
Can I trust myself that it’s ok for me:
1) to be looked at?
2) to be the centre of attention?
3) to take a pause and gather my thoughts?
4) to have a good eye contact with person I’m talking to
5) not to be perfect and that I can make mistakes
and, perhaps the biggest one
6) can I trust that its ok to be me?
Building that fundamental trust in yourself not only helps with public speaking it also helps you to take your place in the world.