Find your confidence: as a Chair, Presenter or Speaker

Published on 17 October 2023

An article in the Changing Your Conversations: Changing Your Outcomes programme.

If I asked you to name your biggest opportunity for growth, whether as a chair, presenter or speaker what would you say? Here are four places where it could sit. Have a look. Where’s your work?

Personal Confidence    Practise
Preparation    Performance

Often, when I ask this question, Personal Confidence attracts the most votes. 

Which makes sense. When your confidence grows, you can do more. You can handle presentations with ease, speak to bigger audiences with energy, chair important meetings calmly and be more successful.



Image credit: John Scarrott

And the best chairs, presenters, speakers, they seem to exude confidence. Which is all good. And yet...

A question lurks at the back of the room. A hand goes up. 

Q: ‘Where will my personal confidence come from?’

A: “Is it something that some are just born with? Do I wait for it to find me?”

It’s a good question. And neither of these responses seem particularly useful when it comes to your growth. They rely on confidence finding you. Which is a bit hit and miss. It would be much better to seek it out.

Where do you look? For the answer, let’s return to your opportunity for growth.

What if I now arrange the earlier options into a sequence of steps as follows:

1. Preparation
2. Practise
3. Performance
4. Personal Confidence

What do you see now? Here are some possibilities.

You can work on confidence directly. And that’s useful. But it’s only a fraction of what’s available to you. And on its own, it’s not strong enough to do all your lifting. To elevate your chairing, presenting, speaking, you need to engage the other elements.

This involves more obvious work. Sometimes that’s why we shy away from them, cross our fingers and hope out confidence arrives. It may do. But it may not.

Working on the other elements can lead you to your Personal Confidence. This is because you have evidence for it. You’ve done the work. Therefore, you have some reasons to believe you can be successful. 

They’re a stronger basis for confidence. Confidence emerges from your work. It’s your reward. Your personal confidence is something that can be worked towards. Discovered. Quite literally, found. By you.
To learn more about all of these elements and how you can harness this approach to become a more confident chair, presenter or speaker, come along to one of my forthcoming masterclasses. 

Thanks for reading. 


John Scarrott
John Scarrott

Trainer and Coach, John Scarrott Training and Coaching

John Scarrott is a Trainer and Coach working with association professionals on their approach to speaking, chairing meetings, presentations, communication and influence. John is a former Membership Director, with over 25-years’ experience of making presentations. He is the retained trainer in Public Speaking and Presentation Skills for the AAE and also for the Institute of Data & Marketing. John is a professionally qualified coach with a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) Credential from the International Coach Federation. He has spoken in the UK and internationally working with association professionals across Europe and in India and Australia.