For my second speech, I was still struggling with what to speak about. I am used to being given a topic and then coming up with a presentation. Matter of fact, I am pretty good with that! But given free rein and not yet familiar with the others in the club, I was very unsure what to speak on. Then I came across an article by Dharmesh Shah and I had my subject. As with the previous speech, throw a couple um’s or ah’s in and you have my speech. For the record, I went over by 10 seconds, but the other speaker also went over, so we still got to vote. (I did not win.) Word of the day was astonishment.
Good evening fellow Toastmasters and guests. I was in quite a quandary this week as I was not sure what I wanted to speak on until I saw a posting by Dharmesh Shah, Founder and CTO at HubSpot, regarding the Nine Qualities Of Truly Confident People. I wondered, how I would measure up? He states that confidence is not bravado or swagger. Confidence is quiet: It’s a natural expression of ability, expertise, and self-regard. A reason all of us are here tonight is because we have a desire to improve ourselves by gaining confidence in speaking. Here are some other ways we can improve to become truly confident in life:
1 – “Confidence comes not from always being right but from not fearing to be wrong.” Peter T. Mcintyre
Confident people are not afraid to take a stand. My dad has a t-shirt that says, “You can always tell a German, but you can’t tell him much.” Dad is stubborn, but mom said he has nothing on me. You can be stubborn and confident. I will stubbornly defend my beliefs to the end, but I also have the confidence to admit when I am wrong. When you dig in your heels and refuse to budge, it diminishes your credibility.
2 – “When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.” Ernest Hemingway
Confident people wish they knew more and they know the only way to learn more is to listen more. They ask open-ended questions that give others the freedom to be thoughtful. They ask what do you do, how do you do it, what do you like about it and what have you learned from it….. This is something I need to devote more time to. Especially when I am nervous as I tend to listen less and ramble on and on and on and on…..
3 – “A great man is always willing to be little.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
Confident people duck the spotlight. Of all the qualities mentioned in this posting, it is this one I believe I most exemplify. In high school we decided to put on a talent show to raise money. I made all the arrangements. Recruiting acts, setting up the format, designing the stage lighting, publicity, refreshments, ticket sales….. I did it all. The night of the event, the teacher advisor was reading the program with astonishment and was very upset to not see me listed. She could not believe such an oversight was made. What oversight, I asked. Remember who typed up the program!
4 – “It’s not the load that breaks you down; it’s the way you carry it.” Lena Horne
While I believe I am best at letting the spotlight shine on others, asking for help is my Achilles’ heel. Confident people are secure enough to admit they need help. Saying, “Can you help me?” shows tremendous respect for another’s expertise and judgment. I am confident enough to admit I have weaknesses, it is just asking for help in general that I have an issue with. I have been let down by others and found it easier to just try and do it all myself, even though it usually takes a toll on me physically. I am not trying to do it all to be a glory hog, but at least I know it will be done.
5 – “I do not believe in a fate that falls on men however they act; but I do believe in a fate that falls on them unless they act.” Buddha
Confident people don’t wait to “be discovered.” They know they can connect with almost anyone through networking. They choose their own path, then very quietly go out and do it. I could have taken a break and stewed about the fact that I was let go due to something I had no part in or I could say it is what it is and move on. I chose the latter and feel that I am a much better person for it. True, I hope somebody stumbles on my LinkedIn profile and in a Lana Turner style discovery says this is the person we have been looking for, but I also know the odds are that is not going to happen. If I did not set up that account and work at it daily to draw attention to my site, I stand zero chance of it happening. And while I am carving out my little niche in the online world of networking, I am doing old school networking as well.
6 – “Always hold your head up, but be careful to keep your nose at a friendly level.” Max L. Forman
Generally speaking, people who like to gossip do so because they hope by comparison to make themselves look better. A confident person only makes comparisons to the person she was yesterday – and to the person she hopes to someday become. I am pretty proud of the person I have become, but especially what I have achieved in the last few months. I have set new goals for myself and I am working hard to meet and exceed said goals.
7 and 8 – “I have great faith in fools; self-confidence my friends call it.” Edgar Allan Poe
Confident people aren’t afraid to look silly and they own their mistakes. Running around in your underwear is certainly taking it to extreme… but you don’t mind occasionally being in a situation where you aren’t at your best. People tend to respect you more, not less. You realize that when you’re genuine, people don’t laugh at you, they laugh with you.
9 – “It took me a long time not to judge myself through someone else’s eyes.” Sally Field
A professional and social network of hundreds or even thousands? I’m jealous! But confident people only seek true approval from the few people in their life who really matter. No matter what we try, we can do it with confidence because we know the people who truly matter the most are behind us. My family is not sure where I am going with my life. They understood my previous job as it had metrics to measure success by. I am trying to transition into a more fluid creative environment. Even though they repeatedly tell me they do not understand why I am doing what I am doing and what I hope to achieve, they’ve got my six.
I hope as I have been speaking to you tonight that you too have evaluated yourself against these standards. Found one that struck a chord? Then do something about it. Henry Ford said, “If you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re probably right.” I say there is no reason you have to wait till January 1st to make a new resolution, you can make one right here, right now. I will be gone for the next two weeks on a family vacation and I know that I personally will be struggling with number six, thou shalt not gossip. But I look forward to coming back to report to you how I fared and to hear which of these qualities you have been able to incorporate into your life and the positive changes they have brought around. Thank you, Ms. Toastmaster.