Chapter 22

Confidence: Part One

Understanding It

There were occasions, not too long ago, when I was so nervous talking in front of crowds that my voice would crack, my hands would shake, and my face would turn bright red.

The worst was watching the faces in the crowd respond to my unease at the podium. Half were probably thankful they weren't addressing the crowd and the other half, I'm sure, were wondering who gave me a microphone. I can still remember the pained expression on one man's face as I introduced a political speaker—to this day I cringe whenever I think about it.

Then there were other times when I sounded like a professional. Cool, calm, and collected as I charmed the crowd.

Thankfully I realized the difference was preparation. When I knew the key points I wanted to make and was clear about my purpose for speaking, I appeared confident because I was confident. Slowly but surely, this idea helped me overcome my fear of public speaking. Still—to this day—if I'm put on the spot to speak in public about a topic other than business development and profitable networking, I'm a nervous wreck.

In terms of public speaking, the best advice I received was to ask myself before every talk, “What do I want the audience to do, think, and feel because of hearing me speak?” This is such a huge confidence boost because it reminds me to focus on the needs of the crowd rather than inwardly analyze how I'm doing.

Thank goodness I learned that, otherwise running for political office and ...

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