Building Confidence - Arlington Heights FFA

What is
• Confidence: a feeling of belief in oneself and
one’s ability to control a specific situation.
• Feeling you have when you believe that you
are capable of handling a situation
Are you born with
• No, but it can be developed over time.
• How do you get it?
– By understanding exactly what it means to have
• Ongoing preparation and practice.
– Think about professional and Olympic athletes.
How does this apply
to communication?
• Building a house…
– What is the first step?
• Foundation
– Ethics of communication; posture, eye contact, & gestures
1. Working to be a good person
2. Communicating constructively
3. Caring about your audience
• Next step…
– Build the shell of the house by bolting the outside
framework to the foundation. (Skeletal
• Provides stability
– Confidence is the internal skeletal framework.
• Gives stability to the speaker and makes his/her
message believable.
• So why can’t everyone speak with confidence?
• Means that we are afraid to speak, generally in
public situations.
– Surveys indicate that 80-90% of Americans admit
feeling extremely uncomfortable about any form of
public speaking.
• So what is fear?
– Biological process by which animals, including
humans, secure the necessary energy to do a job
really matters – one that might potentially result in
physical and/or psychological injury.
Fight or Flight
• In every situation where there is fear we have
a choice of dealing with it or running from it.
What are the
• Forgetting the words.
– Motel 6 example
• Upset stomach
• Flushed face
• Dizziness
• Shortness of breath
• Excessive sweating
• Wobbly legs
Why do we get
these symptoms?
1. Our bodies are being flooded with energy.
a) They’re preparing for what they perceive to be
an emergency situation.
2. Most of us don’t like to be evaluated or
b) Dislike the thought of opening up to an audience
or of having others examine us or our thoughts
too closely.
Before we move the world, we first have to
move ourselves.
Establishing an
accurate perception
• What is perception?
– How you see things.
• To gain awareness and understanding of a person, an
idea, or a situation.
• What harm can be done if we have an
inaccurate perception of something?
Back to our
house example
• Main support beam
– Runs from one side of the room to another and works
to make the internal structure stable.
• Establishing an accurate, realistic perception is
the “main support beam” in building speaking
• It is this internal mind-set that allows you to say
with a confident attitude, “I see things as they
are, not as my fears might lead me to see them.”
Your Perception
of the Audience
• Think they audience can see you sweat or
your legs shake.
• Researchers have found that most report
noticing little or no anxiety in a speaker.
• Your audience will ignore or forgive any type
of mistake or awkwardness if audience
members feel that you are genuinely
interested in them and that you are genuinely
trying to share with them.
Your Perception
of the Speech
• You should see speaking as an opportunity to
share something you consider valuable – your
message – with your audience.
• It is an extension of you!
Your Perception
of Yourself
• It is sometimes difficult for people to accept
who they are.
• But easy for us to perceive ourselves as not
being pretty enough, handsome enough, or
intelligent enough.
• If you lack confidence in yourself, doesn’t it
stand to reason that you will also lack
confidence in your spoken words?
• You should strive for excellence, and not
• Mistakes don’t equal failure!!
• Failure should be seen as an opportunity for
innovation instead of immediate defeat.
When you face your fears, your frustrations, and
even your failures – and still come out
standing on your own two feet – then
confidence is being nurtured!
Examining the
Planks of
• Back to our house….
– Individual pieces of wood – 2x4 planks
• Using the word Confidence we will “nail
down” some of the major ingredients of
• Have something worthwhile to say.
• Audiences respect a person who shares a
message that contains facts and pertinent
• Remember, don’t base your speaking on
assertions or emotional appeals only.
– Spend time building an evidence file
• Have some type of an outline that is easy for
both you and your audience to follow.
• Every speech needs organization
– Main idea or point
– Clear areas of analysis
– Supporting evidence that fits.
– Introduction leads to the thesis statement and
conclusion that summarizes the areas of analysis
an provides some ending emotional appeal.
• Jot down your ideas in a brief, directed
(preferably outlined) form.
• Note cards can be a good “security net”
– Problems with using note cards
• Having too many words on a single note card
• Having too many note cards.
• Notes are NOT a substitute for preparation!!!
• Getting off to a good start is essential in
building confidence.
– Study showed that 55% of what others think of
you is determined before you ever open your
– So you should telegraph to your audience the
feeling, “I’m really glad to be here today,” before
you begin to speak.
• How do you do this?
• Also refers to how you are groomed.
• Never allow your clothing, hair, makeup, or
jewelry to get in the way of your message.
• Build confidence by setting a good example
and offering a solid first impression.
• Practice, Practice, Practice!!!
• Confidence does not come about as a result of
going over the material mentally in the corner
of your room while listening to music.
• You must get used to the sound of your own
voice and speak as often
as you can.
– Practice looking at people,
gestures, and moving
• Know how it feels to feel that way.
• A sincere understanding of the feelings,
thoughts, and motives of others.
• Keep speaking and working for common
• Apply some originality.
• We often feel confident if we have something
new and original to say.
• Tell a personal story.
– Can also help establish the necessary common
• Believe in what you say.
• Mahatma Gandhi once said, “One needs to be
slow to form convictions, but once formed
they must be defended against the heaviest
»Know what your principles are, and have
courage to stand up and voice those
• Get fired up!
• No one wants to listen to an unemotional,
mannequin, standing lifelessly at the front of the
• You need to inspire your audience by showing
them you are fired up in two ways that work
hand and hand:
1. Intellectually
2. Physically
• Also a good outlet for nervous energy.
Abraham Lincoln was once asked how he would
cut down a tree if he were given eight hours
to complete the job.
He responded that by saying that he would
sharpen the blade on his axe for seven hours –
so that he could easily cut down the tree in
one hour.
In other words…

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