When you own a business you or you’re a professional, it is very hard to avoid giving presentations or at the very least, talk to groups informally about what you do. If fact, one of the best ways to promote your business or build your career is often to speak publically and draw attention to your talents. Not coincidentally, one of the things many of my clients have in common is that they find it difficult to speak confidently in public. By making some changes to the way you think about, and prepare for, public speaking you can deliver confident and powerful presentations!
If you’re like most people, you probably don’t like presenting very much so here are a few simple tips you can use to conquer your worries.
- Know you can do it — it just takes practice and preparation.
- Few people really like presenting. Some of the best, most well-known speakers and actors have confessed to this. So, when you look out at your audience, know that you’re always in good company.
- What actually comes out of your mouth is only about 10% of what gets communicated. That leaves 90% to non-verbals. That means if your body language, expression, and gestures communicate confidence, you will come across as confident.
Communicate with Confidence
1. Know your content
The first key to confident communication is to clearly identify your message and create bullet points that tell your story in order. If possible use a presentation tool like a power point presentation or failing that, notes on paper. Enhance your messages with supporting tools, and interesting visuals—it will be a perk for your audience, and it takes the spotlight off of you.
2. Practice makes perfect
Practice delivery of your lines. Do this in the mirror. You might feel funny talking to yourself, but it works. Watch your body language. Find your “confident look.” Stand straight be sure to use smooth hand gestures, and limit unnecessary movement (e.g. rocking back and forth from one foot to the other). Practice until the words flow like water. Remember to not rush through your material. When you’re ready, practice in front of a friend or two. Ask them each for 3 things you did well and 1 thing you could improve.
3. Create your “winning scene”
See yourself delivering your presentation. Many professional athletes find success by mentally going through their performance in their sport before they start their sport. This exercise can also work for presentation preparation as well. Going through your presentation mentally will help you internalize your points and make your presentation come very naturally to you.
4. Just Do It!
You are prepared, you know your material and the message you want to convey. It’s time to squelch your negative thoughts, take some deep breaths and step out and make your presentation. As you present, keep eye contact with as many people as you can—this conveys confidence and will help you feel more confident. Be mindful to keep your pace slow so you make your message clear.
Once you have given one presentation, look for opportunities to speak in front of groups. Once you have learned the techniques involved in creating a presentation, the best way to overcome your fear of speaking, is to do it often, especially if you are someone who does not enjoy the spotlight. But by making some small changes to the way you prepare to speak you can get big results.