How to appear more confident in your presentations



How to appear more confident in your presentations

Public speaking is not for everyone. And especially if you lack self-confidence, you could break out in a cold sweat and stutter the whole way through your next presentation. Which is not ideal. For most people, public speaking is mental fear. While it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to overcome, sometimes you just have to fake it until you make it. Here are some tips on how to appear more confident:


  • Get the audience laughing

There is something about connecting with your audience that makes you feel more at ease. One of the most popular ice-breakers is always to make a witty comment or a joke, to grab the attention of the audience and get things rolling in the right direction. Something as small as just a cheeky comment can lighten the mood and make you relax. It will also help you establish that level of trust with your audience.


Body language is a tricky one. It’s often easier to follow the tips you read online or watch in the latest Ted Talk than to actually do them in real life. From school life to the ‘real’ world, we were always taught that posture is important. Walk with confidence and incorporate the different body languages into your speech for better effect. Your hands should be kept on your sides or open, not hidden behind your back or in your pockets. Keep your hands where the audience can see them and use them to make gestures.

Remember that when you stand in front of any audience, you are building a relationship. Many people feel that when they focus on people's faces who are nodding, they start to become more relaxed. When you focus your attention on the positive cues, you feel reassured. And when you see that someone is agreeing with your statement and is actively listening to you, you become more confident. Do not fixate yourself on people who look bored. Focus on individuals in the crowd and not the group as a whole.


  • Be expressive when connecting with your audience

Trying to suppress your emotions when you’re already hyperventilating just won’t work. In order to ease your anxiety, try to work on showing your emotions. Be expressive when telling a story. This way you can really play up your emotions and get the excitement going. It will also give your audience more reason to listen and get engrossed in your topics. After all, it’s easier to hide emotions with another than to disguise them completely.


  • Practice makes perfect

It’s easy to think that public speaking is either something you’re good at or not. Yes, there are some people that are naturally more confident in who they are and what they’re speaking about but don’t let that put you off. Learning and teaching your body and mind to react differently to these situations is how you overcome fears. Try to have someone record your speech so that you can watch it back and analyse your approach. When you replay your presentation, instead of cringing with every word or action, watch what you’re doing wrong and try to adjust it for future speaking. Public speaking is something you can build up. The more you practice, the more equipped you will be with the perfect presentation skills. And the more improvement you see, the more your self-esteem will grow.


  • Be prepared to fail

Welcome to the world of mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes, and no matter how long you’ve been in the business, there will always be a time that you are not fully prepared, confident or knowledgeable enough to deliver a perfect presentation at your next conference. However, over the years, you do become more experienced in handling these situations more professionally. When we start to become more comfortable with slip-ups then our audience becomes more comfortable as well. So, no matter if speaking is your number one fear, practice makes perfect. Strive to be better and you will be.


In conclusion

Learning to master the art of public speaking is a challenge. It requires a lot of practice and effort, but the minute you know what your objective is, you’ll be far more relaxed and calm. If you learn to understand what your audience wants from you, you can be more relevant and engaging when presenting to them. By focusing on the listeners’ needs rather than on what you want to communicate, you are immediately giving them something that is useful. Take the spotlight off of yourself and direct your focus to them.

If you can rethink the way your body reacts to stress and anxiety, you will be able to determine your mental approach to your next presentation. Giving in is not the answer.