If you don’t present often, it can be daunting to think about standing in front a group of people and talking, particularly if you’re delivering results or sharing your own ideas. However, It can also be exciting and fulfilling to have your voice heard and your ideas accepted.
While it sounds cliche, there is one thing that all great presenters have, and that’s confidence. Absolute confidence in their ideas and confidence in themselves. And it’s this confidence that leads to more engaging and convincing presentations.
However, you can’t just take a couple tablets of confidence before you present to get this edge, you need to a little training. Lucky for you, anybody can do it, it just takes practice and the right tips.
In this post, we’ll give you the latter, and leave you to the former.
Do Your Homework
Knowledge is power, and in this case it’s about preparing thoroughly for your presentation. Five things all great presenters do, which will make a massive difference to your confidence are:
- Thoroughly research your audience and work out why they’re listening to your presentation in the first place; what will they want/need to know, how much detail (or not!) that they’ll need; the questions or concerns they’re likely to ask or raise.
- Plan out a logical way to deliver your presentation that also tells a compelling story. Some things to consider are:
- Why are you talking about this subject to this audience?
- What specific outcomes are you trying to achieve?
- What are the 3-5 critical message that you need the audience to remember?
- how will you end your presentation so it leaves a lasting impact?
- Know your content, but know that less is more. So strip out any content that doesn’t add to the story of which will be detailed/irrelevant for the audience.
- Know exactly how you’re going to start and finish the presentation and practise these components until you feel completely comfortable.
- Rehearse your presentation and gain feedback. Feedback is a gift and is often the thing that makes the difference between good and great presentations and presenters. Preparing in this way helps you to:
- Speak more clearly – Because you know your content and have run through your presentation a few times already, you won’t feel the need to make things up on the spot, or “wing it”. It will also reduce the tendency to use filler words and well as Ahhhs and Ummms. This will ensure you deliver your information smoothly and with confidence and conviction.
- Use better visual aids – Visual aids can be of great assistance to your presentation. They engage your audience and can deliver complex information in an easy way. Just make sure you keep them clean, clear and simple so that they don’t distract your audience or detract from message!
- Respond to questions with ease – You’ve done your research, you’ve been through your presentation, and you’ve had your feedback, so it’s safe to say you’re armed with the answers to any questions someone could ask. Knowing you can answer these questions will undoubtedly boost your confidence as you feel in control of the situation (as well you should).
Expect to be nervous
Being nervous is human and perfectly normal. Even the most seasoned presenters get nervous before a business presentation. Instead of trying to get rid of it, embrace it and use it to your advantage!
The key to managing your nerves is to understand their cause, and then to take practical, easy steps in the first part of of your presentation. We call it ‘Starting with 77’ – 7 tricks for the first 7 seconds:
- Walk slowly and confidently into the room/up to your presenting position. Walk tall, like you actually own the room. Thinking prompts feeling. and feeling prompts believing.
- Smile genuinely at your audience – it releases endorphins for you, boosting your inner confidence whilst also making your audience feel at ease.
- Connect early with your audience – e.g explain how this presentation will benefit them or the business; or share with them an amazing statistic; or perhaps an inspiring story or image.
- Keep your voice natural – don’t suddenly change your voice or the language you use just because you’re delivering a presentation. If you do you’ll end up tying yourself in knots. Make it easy on yourself and simply be your every day brilliant self.
- Use positive gestures and deliberate movement – this will burn off any excess nervous energy and at the same time help you appear animated and so engaging for your audience. movement
- Pause, pause, pause – between sentences, paragraphs, and after key messages. Pausing will help you to breathe, relax and actually enjoy presenting!
- Be authentic – you are who you are, so be yourself and let your natural personality and passion shine through.
Make it a conversation
One of the easiest ways for many people to gain confidence is to use the audience. Engage them with questions, encourage them to participate, and converse with them. It makes you feel less like you’re out on your own and that you’re talking with people, not at them or for them.
Become a confident presenter
If you’ve put together your information, practiced your delivery and listened to feedback, then there’s little doubt your confidence on the day will be there. To be sure though, get in touch with secondnature, the business presentation experts, and we’ll help you reach your true potential and be the impactful and confident presenter you would like to be..
Written By Belinda Huckle
Founder and Managing DirectorRead Bio
Belinda is the founder and managing director of secondnature. With a determination to drive a paradigm shift in the delivery of presentation skills training, she is a strong advocate of a more personal and sustainable presentation skills training methodology.
She believes in a training approach that harnesses people’s unique personality to build their own authentic presentation style and personal brand.
Belinda is currently helping to transform the presentation skills of people in organisations such as BBC Worldwide, DHL, ESRI, Heineken, MARS Inc., Moody’s, Pfizer, Roche, Triumph and Walmart – to name just a few.