Here are 6 Tips to help you build your confidence for a presentation.
Whether you’re due to perform a presentation for your future employer, pitching your services to a prospective client or even representing your company at a networking event, having and projecting confidence is probably the single most important aspect to get right.
- Visualise yourself
‘Role play’ your way into the scenario several times, beforehand.
Close your eyes, visualise yourself in front of your audience. Let the words run through your mind. Envisage how good you will sound, in front of an appreciative audience as they engage with you. Avoid speaking out loud – just let your mind do the work.
When you get out there for real, you’ll have visited the place so often in your mind, it won’t feel so intimidating.
Whether it’s 3 people or 300 – wait until your audience settles and you gain their full attention. You are now in control, not your nerves or your audience. When you begin in control, you’re likely to stay in control.
- Leading the way
At a conference remember your audience has come to hear you because they want you to lead them and enrich their knowledge. If you are pitching to a new client, remember you are the person who has the answer to their problem. So think: “What can I give these people, how can I help them?” They will be looking to you to help them. What will they – and you – lose, if you don’t speak to them? What will they – and you – gain, if you do?
- Image matters
Just like a job interview, how you look, feel and dress has a direct effect on both the way you project yourself and how the audience perceives you and relates to your topic. Your image must establish a rapport with your audience and help them to feel you’re ‘one of them’. Your image should reflect the occasion. It should be appropriate to both the speech theme and the audience.
- Meet and greet
If appropriate and if possible arrive before any guests. As people come through the door, greet each one personally. Your audience will appreciate that you are already one of them and they will instantly warm to you as you begin your talk because they have already ‘met’ you. In the same way, you will feel your confidence rise because you will have shaken hands, broken the ice and seen that they are thoroughly nice people, ready to listen to what you have to say.
- Eye contact
When you rehearse at home cut out a selection of faces from magazines or newspapers, including some famous ones. Attach blue tack and stick them around the room. This is your ‘audience’ and you can use their faces to practise eye contact. Maintaining good eye contact is one of the golden rules to boosting your confidence when speaking in public.