Many jobs require you to give presentations or engage in some sort of public speaking activities. While some people are naturally good, others find public speaking to be challenging. The first and most important thing viewers notice about you is your confidence during a presentation. You would find it surprising that your attitude matters more than the content you’re presenting sometimes.
This article will discuss why it’s crucial to be confident in public speaking and how to be more confident during presentations. So, let’s dive straight into our topic.
The importance of confidence during a presentation
When you feel confident about yourself, it ensures that you will give the best presentation possible. Confidence makes you feel in control and authoritative; therefore, you speak more clearly and with conviction. When you present something audiences think you believe in, they automatically respond to your message.
Nervousness indicates that you are lying or unable to communicate what’s on your mind. That will create a lasting impression on the viewers, but not the one you were hoping for. Confidence is not just about speaking with clarity and authority; it also reflects in how you carry yourself. Some people are excellent at communicating, but when they are asked to address a large number of people, they lose confidence.
Being nervous in a class presentation is one thing– there’s always a chance of redemption. But the business world is different– one wrong move may result in you losing your superior’s favor. That’s why it is essential to learn how to be confident during presentations and excel at public speaking.
How to be more confident during a presentation
Confidence can be divided into two categories: feeling confident and looking confident.
Many people would agree that they’ve aced public speaking just by looking confident– that’s why you shouldn’t take it lightly.
We will discuss both categories in detail so you are absolutely ready the next time you have to express your ideas in front of an audience.
How to feel confident
You can follow a few tips to feel more confident in a presentation.
- Prepare your presentation
Your presentation is the main highlight; therefore, you should focus on it first. Understand viewer expectations and the client’s requirements before you start working on it. You can ask the meeting organizer for the time limit, so you’re ready when the time comes. Preparing your presentation in advance will give you more time to smooth out any rough edges and perfect it to the best of your ability.
When you are confident that your presentation is good, it will automatically translate into your behavior and tone.
- Deliver a strong opening
Audiences’ attention can waiver easily, and the best way to keep them listening is by creating a solid opening. If you can capture their attention immediately, you can expect a good response from them.
There are many ways to achieve this. You can open your presentation with a joke, surprising statistics, or personal stories. The idea is to attract and engage your audience.
- Practice before you present
Practicing your presentation multiple times before the big day will help you with your language and tone. You can even record yourself practicing and watch it to determine whether or not it needs some changes. Doing this will help you feel more relaxed and allow you to engage with your audience better. Another tip is to give the presentation in front of friends and family and ask for their honest feedback.
Preparation is key to feeling confident– the more prepared you are, the more assertive you will feel.
- Test your meeting equipment
Speaking in front of the public can be unnerving for some people, and if the meeting equipment, such as the microphone and speakers, don’t function properly, it can ruin the momentum of your presentation. Therefore, it’s always better to familiarize yourself with the meeting space and equipment before the presentation. This allows you ample time to check the electronics, lighting, microphone, and seating arrangement.
- Familiarize yourself with your audience before speaking
If you meet audience members before your presentation, you can form a connection with them before you even start speaking. You can take this opportunity to make yourself seem personable and approachable. Knowing that the audience feels optimistic about you will automatically boost your confidence. Moreover, when you familiarize yourself with the audience, public speaking feels more personal than public.
How to look confident
Here are a few tips you can follow to look more confident during a presentation.
- Speak with confidence
How you speak impacts the way, people respond to you. A sure way to look confident is by speaking assertively during the presentation. You should try to keep your language conversational to be more engaging for the audience. You can vary your voice’s volume, speed, and pitch to keep the viewers hooked.
It would be best if you stay mindful of the pace of your speech. If you speak too quickly, your audience may not be able to follow along and lose interest in what you’re saying halfway. Speaking at a slow pace ensures that they understand you and remain engaged. Don’t forget to add natural pauses and breaks into your presentation.
- Engage with the audience
Have you noticed that when a public speaker refuses to make eye contact with their audience, they eventually lose interest in what they have to say?
That is the reason why you should connect with your audience and engage with them at a personal level. Not making eye contact comes off as nervousness, so you should look at the people you’re addressing. Look out for members who are nodding and showing an interest in your presentation. They are the best candidates for your attention.
- Keep an open posture
Your posture and body language are a clear giveaway of your feelings. Standing with your arms crossed shows that you feel defensive and uncomfortable in the situation. Instead of creating barriers between the audience and yourself, opt for an open posture that exudes confidence.
Similarly, standing behind an object, whether it is a podium or your laptop, is also a big no-no. It would help if you stood away from anything that acts as a barrier. Also, be aware of your hands and ensure they’re not in your pockets. It’s good to look laid-back, but you don’t want to display indifference.
- Use hand gestures
A study found that entrepreneurs pitching investors made a lasting impression when they used figurative language and gestures to bring their message home. You can find areas of your presentation where you can naturally incorporate hand gestures to emphasize key concepts.
- Don’t use filler words
Avoid using words that don’t serve a purpose except to fill up space in sentences. We are talking about words like um, like, ah, and you know. When you use filler words excessively during a speech, it signals to the audience that you’re unsure of your words and irritates listeners.
If you aren’t aware of whether or not you use filler words in your speech, you can record your practice presentation and hear yourself to identify any flaws.
Research shows that audiences form impressions about a presenter’s competence in as little as 30 seconds. This means you have half a minute to convince your audience that you’re worth listening to. For this reason, what you say and how you say it within that period makes all the difference.