"There is nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so."
So said Hamlet in the play of the same name, written by William Shakespeare. Today, more than 400 years later, that simple assertion still holds true.
If you believe that you are no good at public speaking, you are creating a self-fulfilling prophecy which will lead to anxiety and ultimately to embarrassment and failure. Instead, why not try these self-confidence building exercises and imagine yourself being at your very best.
Self Confidence Building Exercise
Imagine it is the morning of an important presentation and, during the night, when you were asleep, a miracle happened. The nerves which used to bother you so much have somehow been replaced by a sense of excitement.
No matter how hard you try, you cannot wipe that big grin off your face, and you cannot stop yourself from "seeing" yourself, in your mind's eye, giving an amazing speech. Now let's capture what you see, hear, and feel as you visualise yourself delivering the best presentation you have ever given.
To help you do this, grab a pen and paper and jot down some answers to the following questions.
When you are speaking at your best...
- What's that like - Is there a metaphor that comes to mind?
- What feelings do you feel?
- How does your voice sound?
- What adjectives would you use to describe your vocal delivery?
- What is your stance like?
- How relaxed do you feel (1-10 scale?)
- What expressions do you see, on the faces of your audience?
- How well are you able to handle any questions?
- How confident do you feel (1-10 scale?)
- How does it feel as the audience's generous applause washes over you when you finish?
- How would you describe the audience's reaction to your presentation?
- What do people say to you afterwards?
Alternatively, do this self-confidence building exercise with a partner. Take turns to ask each other these questions while encouraging your partner to stay focussed on visualising success.
This may seem like a fanciful exercise but it plays a vital part in building confidence. Repeatedly visualising success in this way has consistently been shown to boost the confidence and self-esteem of anxious presenters.