For many, even the prospect of thinking about standing on a stage and preparing to address a crowd can send a sinking feeling to the bottom of their stomach. Their heart may begin to race, their hands may shake uncontrollably, their cheeks may turn several shades of red; all before they have even opened their mouths to speak.
It is a great loss that many of us will never have the opportunity to hear the inspiring, though-provoking and motivational words of so many talented people. For some, confidence is a barrier; they may lack self-belief, are possibly introverted and would prefer to do anything other than speaking in public!
Like many, I was not blessed with a natural ability to address and captivate a crowd. Instead I have always been introverted (‘shy’ or ‘too quiet’) and always lacked confidence in public speaking.
Being in the creative industry and studying a degree in Graphic Design, where the ability to present ideas clearly is a vital skill, has built my confidence and as a result I have become much better at communicating. I doubt many of my old primary/ secondary school teachers would have believed I was capable of this skill. I vividly remember one teacher at primary school plainly stating that ‘I would never succeed in life I remained so quiet and reserved’. I have always been determined to prove them wrong.
I recently attended a great #upfront workshop in confidence and public speaking.
It was a brilliant experience and I gained many useful insights and tips to becoming more confident, including how to use posture and techniques to deal with nerves when public speaking. It was also a brilliant platform to meet a great group of inspiring women who have all shared similar experiences/battles with confidence in the past. It is amazing how much you can learn in one day!
The workshop is run by designer and entrepreneur Lauren Currie who set up the Upfront enterprise in response ‘to the lack of diversity on conference stages around the world. It’s an approach that empowers those on stage to support others in building their confidence to appear on a stage themselves.’
#upfront is elevating and encouraging new voices on and off public stages.
I think the idea of giving people a first step to experiencing being on a stage without the pressure of having to speak is a great way to build confidence and will no doubt encourage many people to do more public speaking. If you get the chance to experience an Upfront workshop or the chance to ‘Be Upfront’ and sit on a red sofa all I would say is- don’t hesitate, what are you waiting for? #BeUpfront
I would also highly recommend giving this Ted Talk a watch:
I feel strongly that introverts should be celebrated and recognised more, especially in business but also in life in general. The image below illustrates my own experiences and what I would say to someone suffering from lack of confidence: