the inspiration blog

The Problem with Confidence – Where Confident Speakers Go Wrong

Posted on: June 7, 2013

I’ve talked a lot recently about the fear of speaking, because it holds so many people back from speaking their truth – as well as from using speaking to easily get clients. However, for many, there’s a bigger problem:

Confidence.

Why in the world should confidence be a problem?

To be honest (which I always am – it’s my M.O. – but I’ve never addressed this before), I’ve never loved the term. Yes, this is true even though “confidence” is in the subtitle of my upcoming training and I talk about it a lot. Why? Because for many, it is about the ego. For example, I’ve heard many coaches declare, “You just gotta be confident!”… as if implying that confidence is easy, or that it can be somehow pasted on. Often, confidence is forced or misguided. When confidence isn’t 100% real, your nonverbal communication looks forced and pushes people away. 

This is different than true confidence - which is completely relaxed – even humble, because you don’t need to prove anything to anyone… including yourself. It’s largely a reflection of being present,  centered, and being able to deal with anything.

And while you can fake confidence, what cannot be forced is presence… and self-acceptance… and deep connection with an audience.

Here’s the biggest problem with confidence, though:

When we’re confident, it’s easy to think we know everything.

And no one knows everything. In my 17 years of coaching public speaking, I’ve never seen a single speaker, be it live or on YouTube, who couldn’t improve. 

Every day, I see confident speakers making basic mistakes – ones that can be easily rectified.

Here are the biggest problems that confident speakers and networkers have:

  • Not authentically connecting with the audience. And if they don’t connect with you, they won’t be moved to work with you.
  • Mistaking loud volume for being a dynamic speaker. I focus with clients on 6 primary vocal dynamics, 4 advanced speaking styles, and powerful ways to use gestures, facial expressions and body language. Most speakers don’t even get close to exploring their full range.
  • Not being grounded, centered and totally relaxed. This is part of what creates presence – and it’s hard to be centered when speaking, which is a heightened experience! This takes practice, technique, and a fantastic warm-up routine to help you get “in the zone.”
  • Not realizing that speaking in front of larger groups, and other high stakes situations like selling from the stage, can cause you to lose your confidence. We all need methods to become more relaxed and centered, when on a growing edge.
  • Skipping public speaking essentials. Can I tell you how often I see confident speakers betraying themselves by using ineffective body language, a plethora of “ums” and more? Far more than I’d like. Oy vey.

The strength of people without confidence is that they realize they need to learn. And who doesn’t need to grow?  For yourself – and to grow your business?

If you haven’t seen it, I’d like to invite you to check out my free video training on speaking with confidence and presence, at http://bitly.com/speakingtraining.

And I  also invite you to my upcoming 7-week online program: Claim Your Voice: Speak with Confidence, Heart, Power and Presence. Details and Registration: http://ClaimYourVoiceNow.com

If you consider yourself a confident speaker, in Claim Your Voice you’ll also learn how to get more comfortable when selling from the stage and other high-stakes situations. And learn a ton of other skills – read my article on The Public Speaking Must-Haves.

In any case, here’s the deal with confidence… it’s pretty much 3 things: getting the skills you need,  relaxing/centering, and trusting your capacity to handle anything that happens.

Which of these is your next step?

–Jonathan Bender, MS, MFA, WholeSpeak  - http://www.WholeSpeak.com

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1 Response to "The Problem with Confidence – Where Confident Speakers Go Wrong"

Great points. Its important to remember that confidence is not volume or bluster, but knowing your subject and being a real expert. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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