CHAPTER 1: HOW TO SPEAK CONFIDENTLY
Repeat after me: be prepared so you won’t be scared. Remember this declaration.
Hi, my name is Elliot. My sister’s name is Emma. Emma and I are fraternal twins. We are tweens. In this chapter, we show you how you may use a simple technique to learn to speak confidently. We want to share this information so that you feel empowered to try new things and to be confident.
Allow us to introduce ourselves a little more thoroughly. As I said, Emma and I are fraternal twins. This means we have the same birthday, but we are not identical. We live on a farm in Ontario, Canada. We have a dad who is a farmer and a mom who writes children’s books. We own three cats, two birds, a dog, and a gerbil.
The purpose of sharing this information with you is to help you learn to speak confidently. This is a skill that you will use your entire life. Why should you listen to us? Well, we feel very fortunate to know what we do, and we want to share this knowledge with you. It all started with this declaration: be prepared so you won’t be scared. Our best friend Todd taught us this declaration when we were in grade one. We don’t know who taught it to him. We never asked. We are grateful to Todd, as we have used it ever since.
There are two topics that we are going to cover in this chapter. The first one is how to get more confidence. The second topic is how to prepare to give a talk in front of people. Emma insists on adding a third topic, so the third topic is how to combine the confidence you have with the preparation you have done. Practice makes perfect. You are going to make mistakes. We all do. Fantastic! Imagine being excited about making mistakes and gradually improving. Celebrate each time you try something new! In The Talent Code: Greatness Isn’t born. It’s Grown. Here’s How. (1.), Daniel Coyle says not to be afraid to try something because you are afraid of making a mistake. Every mistake teaches you something and helps you alter your approach to get better and better at what you do.
Our mother says, “You learn more from your mistakes than from all of your successes.” This is good to know because when starting something new, how can you be your best if you have never done it before? So, being prepared is a good place to start, but realize that there is always room for improvement. All successful people have a coach. Therefore, the first thing to do is to find someone who can help you become more confident. We have two coaches: our mother, Kimberley, and our English teacher, Mrs. Turner. Often, you will find that successful people have more than one coach. You are already good at so many things. You may not even realize it.
Here is how to become confident in just about anything! Write down on a piece of paper what you already do well. Are you an amazing writer, singer, great at playing the guitar, tying your shoes, singing in the shower, keeping your room neat, riding a bike, washing dishes, making your bed, hugging your parents, or feeding the dog? Remember that thought. Each time you try something new, first remember something you are really, really good at. Remember something that makes you confident. Then, take that confidence and associate it with whatever you are trying that is new. It’s as simple as that. You have associated the thought of doing something that you are good at to the thought of you trying something new! This gives you confidence right from the start. Easy! Now add energy and emotion to it! Dance around the room. Laugh out loud. Be energized. You are now attracting what you want! You are already successful! Wonderful!
Our mother gave us a book to read when we were six. This book also gave us confidence. We read it all the time. It is called A Simple Idea to Empower Kids: Based on the Power of Love, Choice, and Belief (2). It helped us realize that we are unique and that each of us has talent and purpose and a responsibility to share this with the people around us. We want you to realize that you are already good at so many things. You are unique and special just the way you are.
So, how do you prepare to do a talk in front of your class? Here are a few suggestions:
• Remember to be prepared so you won’t be scared.
• Before you talk in front of your class, pick a topic that you like and feel enthusiastic about, and know what your message is.
• List in order of importance the key points you want to make.
• Gather facts to support each key point.
• Be organized.
• Then, answer this question: “After I finish my great presentation, what do I expect from my audience?”
Did you know that even adults get nervous before they speak in front of people? This is normal.
So, you have done the research. You are organized. Now, you get to rehearse your presentation in front of your friends, family, dog, or whoever will listen to you. You keep rehearsing until you feel comfortable with your talk. One of the best ways to feel prepared is to rehearse your presentation before you actually do it in front of your class.
Carol Burnett was one of the funniest and most popular comedians in the 70’s and 80’s. She used to stand up in front of thousands of people and try to make them laugh. Do you think she got nervous? You bet your boots she did! But she had a plan for dealing with the nerves by preparing a lot. She recommends that you know what you want to say so well that you can improvise. This means you can handle distractions and questions without losing your concentration.
Today is the day you give your talk with confidence. You are prepared yet nervous. This is perfectly okay. Remember, even adults get nervous before a presentation. The more presentations you do, the better you get. Every successful person has to start at the beginning. You remember the things you are good at. You hold on to the feeling of being good at something and associate it with the presentation you are about to do. You have rehearsed. You are prepared. You are enthusiastic. As you talk, you feel more and more at ease. You keep eye contact with your audience. You know the subject. You give a wonderful presentation. When the presentation is finished, you feel so amazing because you have done a great job! A weight feels like it has been taken off of your shoulders. You cannot wait to tell your parents how well the presentation went and how proud you are of yourself. You are unstoppable!
“Be prepared so you won’t be scared” is one part of giving a great presentation. If you didn’t do as great as you would have liked to do every mistake teaches you something and helps you alter your approach to get better and better at what you do. The more often you present, the better you will get! Having a coach to help guide and encourage you is the magic ingredient in helping you succeed. Emma and I hope this information helps you to realize that you are unique and are already good at so many things. We wish you great success and happiness in all of your endeavours!