Two weeks ago I chaired our (Shades of Noir) Intersectional Film Event. I have always wanted to chair, but didn’t always have the confidence to do it. Though I would have loved to use such a platform to express myself, the thought of standing up in front of a crowd of people made me feel weak at the knees.
Chairing an event is the perfect medium. You must stand up and speak confidently but also, your role is to be a vessel. Your role is to listen. Your role is to use your ear and your knowledge, to guide and push the conversation forward.
When tell people that I can be very shy, or was once a lot more so, it comes as a surprise. That is because like you would train a muscle, I have (and still am) training myself to speak with conviction. Here are five tips that I can share from my experience:
As Aisha Richards (Founder of Shades of Noir) would say, “you are enough.” Confidence starts within. Trust yourself and know that you are enough. If it means you have to remind yourself every day, do that. Practice reciting affirmations.
Start at home with the people you’re familiar with. Get used to boldly articulating yourself in conversations with friends and family. Get into debates that will challenge you.
Observe and take notes from those who inspire you. Notice their body language, and take interest in their recommendations. Perhaps you could even contact them, introduce yourself and ask for advice.
Prepare yourself beforehand. This means reading around the subject you wish to speak on. Write notes for yourself to use as pointers, and practice speaking out loud to yourself. Being prepared means you’re less likely to fumble in the moment.
Push yourself outside of your comfort zone. It’ll feel uncomfortable at first, but once you start to trust yourself and you’re in there, you’ll realise it isn’t actually all that bad. You’ll start to realise that you are more than capable. You’ll get feedback that will surprise you, and your confidence will grow.
Words by Charisse Chikwiri.