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Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Speaking with confidence

Yesterday I promised to share different interventions I use with clients to explain more about what I do. Today, as the 2013 national speakers association convention comes to a close in Philadelphia, I realise that I've often worked with people wanting to have confidence when speaking - whether publicly or simply to be able to speak up in meetings.

So that's the theme for today's blog - speaking with confidence. Although it will work with confidence in any setting.

Over the years I've used many different techniques and I'm sure that will continue. Frameworks for change coaching process, belief change, anchoring confidence and minimising the impact of past events have all worked. 

One of the more regular contributors to lack of confidence when speaking, however, is what's going on in your head. That is the internal picture you're seeing, or story you're telling yourself, as you prepare to speak and then attempt to speak. 

Imagine for a moment the following landscape (or another that you personally don't like):
Imagine you're there and notice what you notice about how you feel? What's happening in your mind? What about your body? 
 
Now consider speaking as you hold this image in your mind. How confident do you feel? How easy is it to consider success, achievement and connection to the audience? How easy is to imagine what you want to say. 

For many this picture represents the little voice inside that's saying "you can't do it" "you're not important" "no-one will listen" as your energy plummets and your fight of flight mechanism kicks in, and shuts off access to the part of your mind that knew what to say. 

Now imagine this landscape (or one of a favourite landscape) 
What difference do you notice? How do you feel? What about your body? As you imagine speaking with this image in your mind what happens to your confidence? What happens to your expectation of success? Connection with others?

This image represents the internal cheerleader, the voice that says "go for it" "you can do it" "woooooop" and allows your energy to soar and words to appear effortlessly to convey concisely, and inspirationally, your message. 

The only thing we changed between the two experiences was the picture. I suspect many who have problems with speaking have an image similar to the first in their mind. The key therefore is ensuring the picture in your mind is one that lifts and inspires you, and the negative chatter can't help but be silenced. 

Next time you're in need of more confidence - consider the landscape that you're imagining to represent the situation and change it for a more resourceful one.

NB: You may want to trial a number of different landscapes ahead of time until you find the one that's just right for you. it might also be context specific. With a conversation with your boss needing a different landscape to one for when you're standing up and speaking to a room full of people.

Do let me know how you get on.

Alison Smith
Inspiring change inside and out

More ways of using nature to landscape your life, as used here, can be found on FacebookPinterest
and YouTube. Later this week I'll share in a blog how the process was used during a strategy development session with a leadership team. There's also an overcoming business challenges workshop arranged for August that is also available to be run in-house.

Scrapyard picture courtesy of Pixabay.

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