Public speaking is not for everyone but it may be required in some capacity within your job. Whether you are presenting to a room of 100+ people or just one, presenting confidently can be challenging.
It may seem like there is a lot to think about and remember, making the whole experience overwhelming for some. We have broken down some of the most important tips and pointers to help you present as naturally and confidently as possible. Check out the delivery skills below to look confident and master public speaking.
Undoubtedly, one of the most important things you can do ahead of any presentation is to prepared. Being well prepared will give you many of the tools you need to cope during a presentation. Make sure you are as familiar with the topic at hand as possible, allowing you to focus on your delivery rather than the ins and outs of what you are saying. Practice runs will help you look confident because you’ll have memorized the information in question.
Use cue cards to jog your memory or aid you in answering questions. If you have an accompanying PowerPoint, let that take some of the focus for people with useful visual elements. Give out handouts or fliers to your audience to help illustrate your point. Anything that can take some of the pressure off of memorizing facts and figures will benefit your presentation. Being prepared is essential to building confidence and getting control of your heart rate before a presentation.
Take Time to Practice
A practice run can be invaluable when it comes to delivering a confident presentation. Going through what you are going to say and what you are going to do will help everything feel more natural when it comes to delivering it for real.
The unfamiliarity of giving a presentation is one of the main reasons people experience a lack of confidence, so practicing and familiarizing yourself with the process will no doubt help in that department.
Know Your Audience
Knowing your audience is essential to a good presentation. Remember to think about your audience members and connect with them. Structure your entire presentation around what they can get from it and how they will receive it.
If you are presenting to a class full of lamen, make sure the language you use is accessible and your pacing is slower. If you are presenting in front of an expert in the field like a co founder of a company, use more technical terms, and assume a good understanding of your content. Everything you do should be geared around your audience. If people are receptive and attentive, your confidence in front of them will grow as a result.
Eye Contact and Other Body Language
The words you say are a heavy focus of a presentation, but body language is sometimes overlooked as a result. Eye contact is important in a presentation, just as it is in day to day life.
Making eye contact is far easier with a smaller group but the same effect can be delivered with a larger group. You do not need to make eye contact with every single member of your audience in order to be engaging, just look up and in the general direction of your audience.
As well as eye contact, gestures are very important in a presentation. Your hands can be a great tool to help explain points or exude confidence. Avoid closed off body language like folding your arms, hiding your hands or, touching your face often. The wrong sort of body language will display a lack of confidence to your audience and can affect how confident you feel.
Be Loud, Clear, and Concise
When giving a presentation, it is essential that what you say is easy to interpret so that the content can be the primary focus. There are three main things you need to be when you are speaking: loud, clear, and concise.
First off, you want to project your voice so that everyone can hear you. This doesn’t mean shouting but just make sure that everyone in the room can hear what you are saying. It may be a good idea to check this before starting by simply asking.
Secondly, you want to make sure that you are clear. Speak at a reasonable pace, pronounce words correctly, and avoid long pauses. Make your point, make it well, and move on. Try not to repeat yourself or go over old ground.
Don’t Rush Things
Another tip relating to delivery is to take your time. People have a tendency to rush through presentations, particularly when they are nervous. Slow yourself down, take a short pause between points, and make sure the room is with you.
The point of a presentation is to convey information to your audience in some capacity. If you are rushing through, your audience will not have time to process what you are saying and your presentation will suffer as a result.
Not rushing things can also extend to your preparation for the presentation. Do your best to be fully composed before starting, have any documents with you and at hand, and read up around the subject as much as possible. Not only will this allow you to be calm, collected, and feel confident, but it will also improve the standard of your overall presentation.
Preparation can help immeasurably with confidence in your presentation and should always be a key part of the process. Aside from this, there are plenty of other things that, if nothing else, that will project a sense of confidence to the people in the audience.
How to do presentations confidently does not always come naturally, but doing some of the things suggested above will improve your self-belief and confidence in your presentations.