How to Be More Confident in Public?

Confident in Public

Have you ever thought that being confident in public, whether giving a speech, leading a meeting, or simply mingling at an event, is important for advancing your career, developing relationships, and reducing social anxiety? Fortunately, with some mental preparation and adjustments to your body language, you can begin exhibiting more confidence during your public interactions.

Overcoming Fear and Anxiety

Many people feel nervous when interacting with others publicly. However, you can overcome this fear and anxiety by understanding its roots and using tools like positive self-talk and visualization.

Understanding the Roots of Your Fear

First, think about when and why you start feeling anxious or afraid. Were you criticized for public “mistakes” growing up? Or have you simply avoided public speaking situations? Identifying potential root causes can help you address them directly.

Challenging Negative Thoughts

The next step is learning to challenge negative thoughts. When you catch yourself thinking things like “I’m going to mess up” or “everyone will judge me,” stop and ask yourself if those statements are really factual. Then, consciously replace them with affirming thoughts.

Visualization and Positive Self-Talk

You can further calm nerves by visualizing yourself confidently delivering a speech and using positive self-talk beforehand, such as “I am prepared and will do great.” This can boost confidence levels tremendously.

Preparing Mentally

In addition to managing fear, you need to prepare mentally by setting expectations, focusing inwardly, and adopting a growth mindset.

Setting Realistic Expectations

Be realistic about the situation to avoid unnecessary pressure. If it’s your first presentation, don’t expect perfection. Think through logistics and have contingency plans, but know mistakes might happen and that’s okay.

Focusing on Your Strengths

Confidence often springs from within when you focus on your strengths related to the task at hand, rather than comparing yourself to others. Remind yourself of relevant experiences, knowledge, and abilities.

Adopting a Growth Mindset

View public speaking as a skill to develop, not an innate talent some have and some don’t. Skills improve with effort and practice over time. Expect early awkwardness. Celebrate small wins. This growth mindset boosts motivation and confidence.

Mastering Your Body Language

The next step is adjusting your body language, as much of human communication is nonverbal. Tweaks to your posture, eye contact, gestures, and voice can all help you look and feel more confident.

Improving Your Posture

Stand up straight with your shoulders back instead of slouching or caving inward. Grounded posture signals confidence, while closed postures convey nervousness or discomfort.

Making Eye Contact

Maintaining regular, but not constant stare-inducing, eye contact conveys confidence more than looking down. Briefly scan the whole room, pausing a few seconds per person.

Using Effective Gestures

Gestures with open palms help make points enthusiastically without aggressive pointing or distracting mannerisms. Avoid crossed arms, which indicate defensiveness.

Monitoring Your Voice

Speak loudly and enough for all to hear, varying tones for emphasis. Nervous rapid-fire chatter and mumbling undermine confidence. Pausing briefly between key thoughts conveys confidence through thoughtful cadence.

Managing Perceptions

Using several tricks related to wardrobe choices, and room dynamics, and handling mistakes or questions can also help manage external perceptions of your confidence level.

Dressing for Confidence

Wear an outfit you feel great in. For formal presentations, polished professional attire conveys competence. But generally, dress for the culture and context to avoid awkwardness from over- or under-dressing.

Owning the Room

Make the space yours by arriving early, walking purposefully to the front, standing comfortably, and briefly interacting with people rather than hiding offstage. This spatial confidence helps you start strong.

Handling Mistakes Gracefully

Expect that you’ll flub a line, briefly lose your place, or be asked tough questions. Roll with the punches and stay positive. Laugh briefly and keep going rather than making profuse apologies or otherwise highlighting blunders. People remember content much more than delivery awkwardness if you handle errors smoothly.

small changes Monk modeconfident in public
small changes

Practicing Regularly

One of the best ways to boost confidence is through practice in low-pressure environments, ideally getting structured feedback to incorporate along the way.

Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone

Commit to public speaking opportunities that stretch your abilities and comfort level. Say yes when asked to lead a brainstorm, present your work, mentor an intern, etc. Avoidance breeds anxiety, while experience fuels confidence.

Finding Low-Stress Opportunities

If formal presentations induce too much stress initially, look for informal ways to practice public interaction, like ordering a coffee, asking someone an engaging question at a networking event, or chatting with fellow volunteers before the meeting starts.

Recording Yourself

Practice full speeches or talking points while recording video on your phone. Play them back to get used to seeing yourself and assess strengths and growth areas. Many identify distracting mannerisms like hair touching or um/ah overuse only through recordings.

Getting Feedback

Take advantage of observer feedback when possible. Ask a trusted mentor or colleague for their candid input after a meeting you lead or a presentation you deliver. Reflect on what went well and what constructive changes would help you improve next time.

Caring Less About What Others Think

As you become more experienced, focus less on other people’s reactions and stay true to yourself. Avoid spotlight syndrome and surround yourself with supporters.

Separating Fact from Fiction

Understand most people are too busy thinking about themselves to devote much time judging you. And those who do judge often reveal more about their insecurities than your abilities. Separate reasonable feedback from cynical criticism.

Avoiding the Spotlight

Stop envisioning yourself in the spotlight with a giant critical audience. Remind yourself people are there for the content, not to spotlight your every move. De-centralize yourself.

Surrounding Yourself with Supporters

If possible, stack the audience with mentors, friends, and colleagues likely to respond positively, appreciate your effort, and support your growth. Read the room and focus attention on encouraging faces rather than scowling skeptics.

Maintaining Confidence Long-Term

Implementing various small strategies makes confidence easier to sustain long-term as public speaking skills improve.

Journaling About Successes

Write about presentations and public interactions that go smoothly. Note what specifically went well and why. Review these confidence-affirming experiences periodically.

Celebrating Small Wins

Recognize incremental improvements through celebration. Book a nice dinner after reaching a presentation milestone. Buy a funny trophy for maintaining unwavering eye contact. Have colleagues sign a congratulatory card when you volunteer to lead your first brainstorm.

Continually Challenging Yourself

As skills improve, continue to push into moderately uncomfortable situations instead of retreating to routine comfort zones which can slowly sap confidence built through past effort. Say yes to the big presentation, panel discussion, or committee leadership role.


Developing greater confidence in public settings requires conquering fear, proper mental preparation, body language adjustments, perception management, and deliberate practice over time. Prioritize personal growth opportunities over avoidance. Embrace small wins while continuously pushing beyond your comfort zone. Record your progress. Most importantly, continue believing in your inherent abilities rather than giving in to lingering self-doubt. You’ve got this!

FAQs in Confident in Public

What if I’m an introvert – can I still improve my public speaking confidence?

Yes, absolutely. While extroverts often start with more innate confidence for public interactions, introverts can develop strong public confidence through preparation, practice, and learning what specific adjustments work best for their personality. Play to your strengths as an introvert.

Does physical exercise help boost confidence before public speaking?

Exercise is positively correlated with self-confidence in general and can be a useful tool before nerve-inducing public situations. Moderate exercise helps manage stress and releases endorphins, providing a boost in mood as well as physical comfort and groundedness.

Should I just take anti-anxiety medication instead of trying to develop confidence through effort?

Medication can temporarily reduce nerves, but long-term confidence development requires facing fears, adjusting thought patterns, and practicing exposure therapy through increasing public interaction. Medication shortcuts delay doing the real inner work and skills building needed for confidence.

What if I try all of these tips but still can’t seem to improve my public confidence?

First, celebrate attempts at quality effort. Then, consider seeking professional coaching or therapy if confidence remains elusive after an extended earnest effort. There may be past trauma or thought patterns requiring more intensive rewiring needing support. Ongoing avoidance guarantees no progress.

How long does it take to become more confident in public?

For most people, noticeable improvements in public confidence occur within a few weeks or months of focused effort. However, mastery develops over years of continual practice and skill development surrounding presentations, leadership roles, relationship initiation, event mingling, and more. Progress depends on the individual and the intensity of the effort.

Set small milestones every few weeks to track your progress. After 2-3 weeks, expect to handle introductions more smoothly. Within 2 months, presenting to friendly colleagues should improve. Lead larger meetings after 4-6 months. Continue gradually expanding the challenge level and variety of contexts. Sustain effort over years professionally and socially.

The rewards for persisting through awkwardness until competency develops are immense. Public confidence enables better career progression, expanding networks through new relationships, positivity from public praise of good ideas, and more influence to enact positive change.

Have patience with yourself and focus on incremental improvement through continual effort. Even slow progress will compound greatly over the years. Social confidence usually requires some faking it until you make it for most people initially. Trust that a bit of short-term discomfort will lead to happiness from tapping your full potential long-term. You can do this!

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