You’ve been asked to give a presentation – that’s great news! You might not be thinking that right now, but trust me, this is your chance to shine. If you’re like most people, you probably don’t like presenting very much. All it takes is a little preparation, some practice, and a winning mindset.
Read on for some simple tips from Liz Kentish and you’ll be ready to go in no time, feeling confident, and fully prepared.
A few things to remind yourself:
– You were asked to present, because you can do it and you know your subject – you wouldn’t have been asked otherwise.
– No one really likes presenting. Even some of the best, most well -known speakers and actors will admit to this. So, when you look out at your audience, know that you’re in good company.
– What actually comes out of your mouth is only about 10% of what gets communicated. That leaves 90% to non-verbal communication. Confident body language, tone of voice, pace and gestures will help you come across as confident.
But just how do you create this confidence? Be prepared; practice; and have solutions for dealing with those nerves.
1. Know your content
What do you want to share with your audience? Jot down your key messages, ideally on index cards – but keep it short; a few key words, not twenty lines of notes. A useful tip if you decide to use cards is to tie them together in order. One of my nightmare experiences was dropping them all as I was about to present – for the life of me I couldn’t get them back in order!
Enhance your messages with visuals – it will be a perk for your audience, and it takes the spotlight off you. But don’t overdo the slides – use them as prompts for yourself and to entice your audience to listen to you attentively.
Practice your presentation. Do this in the mirror. You might feel funny talking to yourself, but it works. This will also help you with your timing.
Watch your body language. Find your ‘confident look’, and this includes wearing clothes that make you feel great.
Practice until the words flow like water. When you’re ready, practice in front of a friend or two. Ask them each for three things you did well and one thing you could improve.
3. Create your ‘winning scene’
Visualize yourself delivering your presentation. Then see your audience’s reaction. What does that ‘winning scene’ look like for you? What does it sound like? What are people saying about you?
Visualize it over and over until you can see, hear and feel it clearly. By the time you get to present for real, it will feel natural as you’ve already experienced it.
4. Go for it
Everyone has different ways of dealing with nerves – perhaps some deep breaths, a sip of water, a few stretching exercises – find what works for you. Avoid drinking coffee as it tends to get the adrenaline flowing, and I’m pretty sure you’ll have enough of that as it is. Squash any negative thoughts by picturing your ‘winning scene’.
Make eye contact – this also conveys confidence. With a theatre style audience, share eye contact between the four quarters of the room. For smaller groups, make eye contact with as many individuals as you can – remember the people on the periphery of your vision, as they often get left out.
Keep your pace slow and steady. No, even slower than that. Many of us tend to talk incredibly fast when presenting, perhaps because we can’t wait to get to the end! What might sound slow to us sounds just right to the listener.
5. Keep learning
If you are asked to give presentations on a regular basis, consider some one-to-one coaching to help boost your confidence and improve your personal brand.
And lastly, if you have a favourite top tip, please comment down below.