Guest Blog: Self-trust and the art of public speaking

London Victorians Toastmasters member shares on a topic she is experienced and truly passionate about in this guest article for our website:

Self-trust and the art of public speaking

When it comes to public speaking there are few things more powerful than a healthy dose of self-trust.

No matter how experienced we are it can be nerve racking to stand and speak. It is scary to be exposed and vulnerable to the opinions and judgments of others. And it’s tempting to down play who we are and avoid being authentic.

Yet when we trust ourselves, we believe in ourselves. We are confident exploring new experiences and tackling new challenges. We are willing to take greater risks. And this permeates through when we speak. We are sure of ourself. Our voice projects further. Our presence more engaging and our audience transported.

Sadly we are not born trusting ourselves. In fact we are born with no intrinsic sense of who we are and what we are worth. We learn about trust as a child. And rightly or wrongly, we learn who we are and what we are worth from those who surround us in childhood. As adults, we need to learn how to trust, and how to nurture trust and belief in ourselves.

There are three things we can do to cultivate trust in ourselves that will also enhance our public speaking. They are:

  1. The first is to BE SINCERE. To be true to ourselves. To know who we are and to be willing to express it. To allow our authentic personality to shine through on stage and to share our thoughts and feelings with the audience. It’s also about being genuine and honest. Checking our intentions, making sure we believe and are committed to what we are saying. If we are not, we shouldn’t say it. To trust in ourselves, it is vital that we honour what is important to us and stand by our beliefs.
  2. The second is for us to LOVE OUR MISTAKES. No one can avoid making mistakes. Neither should they, for our mistakes are our most potent lessons. The ones we don’t forget easily. The lessons that we remember. They show us what we are good at and not so good at … and where we need to focus our efforts. Each time we embrace our mistakes, pick ourselves up and try again, we are building our resilience and becoming ever more confident speakers.
  3. The third is TO BE BOLD. With public speaking, as in life, it is important for us to know where we want to get to. Our path might twist and turn but our end goal will remain the same. We need to know what we want and to go for it, in ways that don’t limit others. We need listen to the opinions of others, mindful that we don’t always need to be right.  Then we decide for ourselves. So we choose to talk about subjects that matter to us. We voice our opinions and balance them with those of others. We learn the right techniques for public speaking and then find our ‘personal style’. We use our speeches to share powerful messages, to create connection and inspire action.

To say I trust myself is to say I believe in myself. I can rely on myself. I can count on me. What greater asset for public speaking than this!

But if we’re not feeling that, if those words feel uncomfortable and get stuck in our throat, then let’s ‘fake it till we make it’ and ‘practice, practice, practice’.

Even with self-trust, we will not be immune to fears of failure and rejection when we speak in public. But with practice and being sincere, embracing our mistakes and being bold, we can replace self-doubt with self-confidence. As our respect for ourselves as public speakers grows, we can let go of old patterns of self-judgement and create new patterns of self-belief. And with self-belief comes the courage to become more of who we are!

I would like to close with this beautifully simple quote from Julia Cameron, author of the Artists Way.

“When we trust ourselves we become more humble and more daring. When we trust ourselves, we move surely. … When we trust ourselves we become what we are meant to be. It is that simple.”

For more information on Diane’s passion for this subject and her business, visit her website