“The way to develop self-confidence is to do the thing you fear and get a record of successful experiences behind you”  – William Jennings Bryan.

I do not consider myself an exceptional student, well not in the last few years. But one thing my colleagues, lecturers and Central University will attest to is my assertive nature and ability to address a crowd. Back in school, I was the mouth piece of most of the groups I found myself in. My colleagues, in order to avoid being in the spotlight, would say to me; ‘You do it, you’re more outspoken than the rest of us’ or ‘Abi this one, you will present it for us?’ Unbeknownst to them, the one they nominated is shier and experiences more anxiety attacks than they do. Before every presentation or debate, I spent precious hours preparing and ‘faking’. I perfected the act of faking confidence so much that it became real to me and others. Any and everyone can be confident. All you have to do is aspire to be confident.

You aspire to be like Bernard Avle, Barrack and Michelle Obama, Ex-president Jerry John Rawllings, yet shyness is your anchor. The thought of speaking to your peers fills you with dread when your dream is to let your voice be heard across the world. Your colleagues and superiors make choices in your stead because you refuse to speak up. Yet, you remain quiet and bear the brunt of your decision. Wise up. You do not only cheat yourself of the goldmine in you but you deprive me and the next individual the honour of benefitting from the greatness in you.

Are you unable to pitch your wonderful ideas to people because you lack the confidence to do so? I have been in your shoes. You might not believe it, but I still have bouts of anxiety when I do a presentation or want to ask a question. It is possible to fake confidence and perfect it. I have done it quite a number of times, trust me, it is possible to do so.

Confidence is not pride.

Most times, we allow the society to bully us into thinking that knowing who you are and going for what is due you are signs of pride. Confident people express their ideas in front of others, as they are able to take constructive criticisms.

The fruits of self-confidence are innumerable and bountiful, yet only a few reap them. The more self- confident one is, the more one knows their self-worth. When you know your worth, it takes confidence to accept nothing less.

Daily successes are hinged on your confidence. As much as you can, shove negative thoughts away as they tend to breed doubt and low self- confidence.

Below are a few tips to adopt to effect the change you desire:

Be Armed

You want to ace that interview or presentation? Be prepared. The more prepared to are, the more confident you feel. Articulation comes with preparation. My roommates always thought I put too much effort into my presentations and debates, but I thought otherwise. One of the ways to hook your audience is to be awesome so they have little or no criticisms.

Dress to Suit the Occasion

Most often than not, we come across the line’ You are what you wear’. Though a cliché, its meaning still holds. You should dress and look the part you want others to see. That is one way to garner the trust of your audience. If you choose clothing that suit your field and lifestyle, you feel good about yourself. In the long run, it fuels your confidence. The right dress, footwear and accessory puts some gait in your steps.

Be Assertive

Being extremely soft spoken and apologetic achieves nothing. Same way being loud and aggressive only incites anger. In-between these extremes, is a fertile ground for productivity. Being assertive means you and everyone know your stance on an issue. It means asking for what you want such that the rights of others are not trampled upon. To be taken seriously, adopt an assertive way of making your message clear and do not shy away from defending your point.

Get Rid of Fillers

You know, fillers words, sounds or say phrases right, are like meaningless words, phrases, or sounds, you know, that uh mark a pause or say, hesitation in speech. Eerm, they are also uh, known as pauses, errm fillers or eerm hesitation forms right. Like I hope you understand me?

While you read the above, what did you think of the writer?

Now check this out: Fillers are words, sounds or phrases are meaningless words, phrases, or sounds, that mark a pause or hesitation in speech. They are also known as pauses fillers or hesitation forms. Like, I hope you understand me?

Some of the common filler words in English are um, uh, er, ah, like, okay, right, and you know.Fillers like a brush to a canvas, paint an unpleasant picture of you; an amateur. To your audience you are either unsure about your work or you are plainly clueless. Do you know the reason why you prefer this speaker or writer to the other is how they get their messages across without giving you the impression that they have forgotten their lines?

Here are some suggestions on how to get rid of fillers: identify the filler words and how often you use them, strive to reduce them, think before you speak. Half a loaf is better than none so slow down. Always rehearse your speech. Read. Read. Read. Build your vocabulary. The use of filler words can largely be attributed to lack of words. Relax. You do not have the whole world on your shoulders. Replace filler words with other words and phrases. Smile.

Own the Stage

Anytime you are to make a presentation or speak to an audience, remind yourself that the people, irrespective of their calibre and expertise, came to listen to you. Your lecturers, supervisors are not God. They are human. You own the stage; hence it is imperative they listen to you.

Wrapping things up, I want you to know that you can be a great speaker if you desire and go for it. Always remember to speak positively. Tell yourself, you are awesome. You belong to the stage and until you relay your message, you will not descend. Give fear no space in your life. Remind yourself of your success and the ones to come. You are able. Now, when should I expect an invite to an event where I would see you in all your elements.