10 Traits of a Confident Speaker

Nothing would be done at all if we waited until we could do it so well
that no one could find fault with it.

John Henry Newman


When I was going through files from a Public Speaking workshop I delivered at UCLA five years ago, I came across this checklist I had compiled.


Because it’s evergreen, I’m sharing it with you this week. . .


A confident speaker / presenter:


  1. Knows their stuff – maybe not inside and out, but they know what is required of them in any given circumstance and knows how to find the helpful answers when they don’t readily know an answer.


  1. Knows how to reassure the other person(s) that they are in good hands by being in the moment and using words that are true. In this way, confident people don’t waste other people’s time.


  1. Believes they have something worthwhile to give – whether it’s seemingly insignificant or operationally impactful. What they have to give may not be life changing, but it will make the other person’s life a bit easier.


  1. Knows they are “odd” – and in what way they’re odd. Hey, we’re all a bit whacky and we can only be confident if we understand our own quirks.


  1. Has a sense of humor – they can laugh at themselves and even helps others laugh at their quirks and foibles.


  1. Is willing to risk making a mistake for the sake of doing something new, better or bigger for the promise of elucidating their material.


  1. Doesn’t make their audience into something that they’re not. They understand that the audience (no matter the size) shares much in common with them and that commonness gives them access to their audience. But, they also understand the specifics of what makes their audience unique and do all they can to speak to that unique reality.


  1. Is not afraid of being nervous and recognizes that it’s a healthy feeling. Confident people know they can be nervous AND confident at the same time. They know that being boring is a choice.


  1. Can make adjustments on the spot. Because they’re sure of their material and overall goal, they can tweak as they engage. Yes, they can “think on their feet.”


  1. Understands they can’t do everything within the allotted time they have with an audience. And that allows them to not feel frustrated because their “gift” fits within the box created by the allotted time.


I think these ten traits can be condensed into just one:

 A confident speaker / presenter has realistic expectations of their own self, the other and their relationship AND based on those expectations, a confident person is happy to give an audience whatever gift they’ve prepared for them, believing that good can come from the mutual experience.


now THAT is the business of confidence!



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