Building confidence when speaking

As an interpreter, you rely on your voice and speech every working day. You probably train your speech skills frequently, in your mother tongue and in your working languages.

Practising your speech skills is one thing but becoming a confident speaker is another.

So, how can we build confidence?

Most of us have at some point in our lives experienced some anxiety problems when speaking in public. Issues, such as sweating, a dry mouth, forgetting words, stumbling over words, trembling hands and breathlessness may occur.

To overcome these nerves, you could try some basic, easy techniques before you are on your mic: just 5 minutes before you are on, concentrate on your breathing by taking some deep breaths. Try to relax your muscles and stay hydrated. If you still feel nervous, try to turn the negative energy into a positive one by recalling that the stress will help you to focus. It will help you to think more clearly and it sharpens you senses.

Believe in yourself and your abilities. Keep your strengths in mind. Concentrate on the assignment and don’t get distracted. With every job done, you build more experience and confidence.

Being well prepared for a job will take away a lot of the stress. Sometimes, just ask yourself which aspects of your speech skills need more focus. These might be your pronunciation or articulation, your vocabulary or knowledge of terminology, or maybe your phraseology or the clearness and expressiveness in the way you speak.

Below I have listed some helpful links that you can use to boost your confidence whenever needed.

Speechpool lets you view speeches in the language you are interested in:

http://www.speechpool.net/en/

Have a look at Interpreting.info for recorded speeches and presentations, training material and references to other useful pages:

http://interpreting.info/questions/507/recorded-conferences-or-presentations-for-practising-simultaneous-interpretation

Toastmasters for tips on public speaking:

http://www.toastmasters.org/Resources/Public-Speaking-Tips

Interpreter Training Resources for students of interpreting at conferences:

http://interpreters.free.fr/preparation.htm

Tips for beginners:

http://interpreters.free.fr/simultaneous/tipstaylorbouladon.htm

Whether you are in a booth, on-line, face-to-face or speaking in front of a bigger audience, never forget to enjoy what you are doing. You are a bridge, helping people to communicate with each other.

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