27 Feb 2021

[29] How to Develop Self-Confidence & Influence People by Public Speaking

Dale Carnegie

There is a cybernetic loop here: When I improve my ability to speak publicly through influential ways, by influencing others to take action, I improve my self-confidence. When my self-confidence goes up, my ability to influence and speak publicly goes up as well


The gaining of self-confidence and courage, and the ability to think calmly and clearly while talking to a group is not one-tenth as difficult as most people imagine. It is not a gift bestowed by Providence on only a few rarely endowed individuals. It is like the ability to play golf. Anyone can develop his own latent capacity if he has sufficient desire to do so

  • Public speaking is a skill
  • Learning how to influence is a skill
  • Developing these skills raises my self-confidence

Speakers often experience this same feeling even when they are talking over the radio. “Microphone fright”

  • Some people, no matter how often they speak, always experience this self-confidence just before they commence but, in a few seconds after they have gotten on their feet, it disappears
  • Real influence comes from my ability to speak from the subconscious. Learning how to do this comes from repetition and not relying on scripts or formalities

There are many exercises that will develop self-confidence but the public speaking is one of the best

  • Doing it the right way
  • I speak from a place of subconscious where information flows out of me. I might make mistakes, but my authenticity connects to the audience
  • Not to gratify the ego
    • The ego is surface level, the subconscious is deep
    • If I focus on how I look, trying to be cool, or impressing others, then I am just gratifying my ego and while I may get approval from it, my approval is going to be externally dependent
    • What I want is internal acceptance of who I am
  • Influencing action
    • I develop public speaking, not for egotistical reasons to look cool, but to positively influence others
  • A good public speaker can still fluctuate on self-confidence
    • I operate from a win-win perspective: What’s in it for the audience and making it about them and not gratifying the ego
  • Core confidence is not taught through theory, it is gained through action based experience
  • Core confidence vs externally oriented confidence
    • My core confidence is who I am, what I say, and what I have to offer
    • If I am externally oriented in my confidence, then I am presenting so that others will approve of me

The four areas

Starting with a strong and persistent purpose

  • The desire to share, influence, and to bring about positive change
  • The desire to go against what others may tell me about my ability
  • The desire to be able to think for myself
  • If my desire is not strong enough, I will not take action or I will create unnecessary resistance

Know thoroughly what I am going to talk about

  • I don’t always need the credentials if I know what I am talking about
  • Some subjects do require credentials or references
  • A passionate speaker usually resonates more with an audience rather than a knowledgeable one
  • Strategies (Eben Pagan – Clear communication)
    • Know what I want to achieve and be willing to experiment till I get it
    • The most important communication I have is with myself
    • The second most important communication I have is with my audience
    • The responsibility of my communication belongs to the communicator
    • Be the message I am trying to communicate
  • Self-confidence through preparation
    • Does the preparation of a speech mean the getting together of some faultless phrases written down or memorized? No. Does it mean the assembling of a few casual thoughts that really convey very little to me personally? Not at all.
    • Assembling of my thoughts, my ideas, my convictions, my urges. I have them every day of my waking life. They even swarm through my dreams. My whole existence has been filled with feelings and experiences. These things are lying deep in my subconscious mind as thick as pebbles on the seashore. Preparation means thinking, brooding, recalling, selecting the ones that appeal to me most, polishing them, working them into a pattern, a mosaic of my own
    • I will find that the sermons I enjoy preach the most and the ones which actually accomplish the most good in the lives of my people will be those sermons which I take most largely out of my own interiors
  • How to Prepare my Talk
    • What topics ought me to speak on for practice? Anything that interest me
    • Determine my subject in advance, so that I will have time to think it over in odd moments. Think over it for seven days; dream over it for seven nights
    • While preparing, study my audience. Think of their Wants, their Wishes. That is sometimes half the battle
    • The way to develop reserve power is to know far more than I can use, to have a full reservoir of information
    • Don’t read, and don’t attempt to memorize my talk word for word
  • How to Open a Talk
    • Arousing curiosity
    • Relating to a human interest story
    • Beginning with a specific illustration
    • Using an exhibit
    • Asking a question
    • Opening with a striking quotation
    • Showing how the topic affects the vital interest of the audience
    • Starting with shocking facts
    • Don’t make my opening too formal. Don’t let the bones show. Make it appear free, casual, inevitable. This can be done by referring to something that has just happened, or something that has just been said
  • How to Interest my Audience
    • My chief interest is myself
    • The person who leads others to talk about themselves and their interests and listens intently will generally be considered a good conversationalist, even though he does very little talking
    • Interest is contagious. The audience is sure to catch it if the speaker myself has a bad case of it. But it cannot be won by the mechanical adherence to mere rules
  • How to Close a Talk
    • Stop but don’t talk about stopping
    • Summarizing, restating, outlining briefly the main points I have covered
    • Appealing for action
    • Raising a laugh

Practice Confidence

“Fear is begotten of ignorance and uncertainty,” says Professor Robinson in The Mind in the Making. To put it another way: it is the result of a lack of confidence. And what causes that? IT is the result of not knowing what I can really do. And not knowing what I can do is caused by a lack of experience. When I get a record of successful experience behind me, my fears will vanish

  • Practicing my craft while developing my ability to speak publicly about that is going to give me the experience

I have only four contacts with people. I am evaluated and classified by four things:

  • What I do
  • How I look
  • What I say
  • How I say it

To develop courage when I am facing an audience, act as if I already had it or act as if it was impossible to fail

Every talk, regardless of whether the speaker realizes it or not, has one of four major goals. (Set my Goal)

  • To make something clear
  • To impress and convince
  • To get action
  • To entertain

Concepts (Eben Pagan’s Clear Communication)

  • The meaning of the communication is the response I get
  • I must always be checking, testing, confirming, and aligning
  • Projection
    • What is the emotional state of someone that has achieved this?
    • I communicate the emotional state of somebody who has already achieved my goal and I am projecting that state outwards
  • Lying is stressful
    • Stress is the major killer behind most diseases
    • A major cause of stress is lying and the biggest type of lie is withholding information which diverts people into not knowing what is going on

The Secret of Good Delivery

  • There is something besides the mere words in a talk which counts. It is the flavor with which they are delivered. “It is not so much what I say as to how I say it.”
  • Many speakers ignore their hearers, stare over their heads or at the floor. They seem to be delivering a soliloquy. There is no sense of communication, no give and take between the audience and the speaker. That kind of attitude would kill a conversation; it also kills a speech
  • Good delivery is conversational tone and directness enlarged
  • Talk to my hearers just as if I expected them to stand up in a moment and talk back to me
  • Put my heart into my talking. Real emotional sincerity

Presence and Personality

  • According to experiments conducted by the Carnegie Institute of Technology, personality has more to do with business success than has superior knowledge
  • Don’t speak when I am tired. Rest, recuperate, store up a reserve of energy
  • Do nothing to dull my energy. It is magnetic. People cluster around the energetic speaker like wild geese around a field of autumn wheat
  • Smile. Come before my hearers with an attitude that seems to say I am glad to be here

General pointers

  • Step out briskly and take a deep breathe. In fact, breathe deeply for thirty seconds before I ever face my audience. The increased supply of oxygen will build me up and give me courage
  • Stride forward bravely, stop, stand still and act as if I loved it
  • Draw myself up to my full height, look at my audience straight in the eyes, and begin to talk as confidently as if every one of them owed me money
  • Do not nervously button or unbutton my coat, play with my beads, or fumble with my hands
  • As a general rule, it is bad for a speaker to hide behind furniture; but it may give me a little courage the first few times to stand behind a table or chair and to grip them tightly-or hold a coin firmly in the palm of my hand

Practice! Practice! Practice!

  • What I need is not courage, but nerve control, cool-headedness. This I can get only by actual practice
    • It will feel uncomfortable but I must embrace it
    • Most people will not take this much action
    • 80% action 20% theory
  • Improving my diction
    • My diction will be very largely a reflection of the company I keep
    • Read with a dictionary by my side. Look up the unfamiliar word. Try to find a use for it so that I may fix it in my memory
    • Study the derivation of the words I use
  • Connecting with people reveals to me details about myself
  • Take notes on how I can optimize my progress


  • Power
    • Am I clear and specific?
    • Is my eye contact strong but not overbearing?
    • Am I energetic?
    • Am I being assertive?
    • Am I looking for approval or reading the situation?
  • Presence
    • Am I in the moment?
    • Are my words, body language and voice tonality in alignment?
    • Is my energy grounded?
    • Am I being real or putting on a front?
  • Warmth
    • Do I have the passion for what I am talking about?
    • Am I smiling?
    • Is there a sense of feeling and connection with my audience?
    • Is there a sense of compassion in my communication?

Action Items

  • Book time to speak at formal events or host workshops
  • Start a YouTube channel or an online platform that uses video to communicate
  • Participate in discussion groups or forums
  • Speak to at least 5 new people or groups a day in public
  • Reference back to this blog before and after I take the suggested actions to further optimization

Dale Carnegie • Joseph Rodrigues Comments Off on [29] How to Develop Self-Confidence & Influence People by Public Speaking