Speaking at corporate events is a great way to gain recognition as an expert in your field of work, and get your message out in front of your audience. But, those who are new to public speaking can initially find it intimidating to stand up in front of a large group of strangers. If you are one of them, don’t fret. You have come to the right page!
In this article, we share how aspiring presentation experts can develop their presentation skills and learn the art of presenting with confidence and style. But, first, let’s understand why we feel nervous when we start presenting in front of the audience.
Understanding Presentation Anxiety
Regardless of how well you know about your subject matter, as soon as you have to engage with or present something in front of an audience, you are likely to feel a bit nervous. It’s a natural reaction that pretty much everyone experiences, especially when they take the centre stage and start delivering a presentation – and it’s this feeling that’s labelled as “presentation anxiety”. Now, let’s understand how you can effectively beat presentation anxiety.
5 Tips for Presenting With Confidence & Style
Avoid Memorising the Presentation Like a Script
You should know what you are presenting by heart. Instead of trying and memorising every single word of your presentation, you should keep in mind just the outline of the presentation. If you feel you might forget what you are supposed to talk about next, create cards that you can use as cues when you are delivering the presentation. This way, the presentation will just flow, you will be speaking with ease, and feel more confident too.
Practice, Practice, and Practice
Speaking or rehearsing in front of others, like your friends, family, or colleagues, for example, is a good place to start. Ask them if they will listen to you and share their honest feedback as well. If you are preparing for an online presentation, you can jump on a quick group call with whoever agrees on this. In the process, you may learn that you still feel nervous in the beginning, and it’s typically caused by the fact everyone’s attention is on you – and this feeling will go away as you practice more and more.
Avoid Chasing Perfection
Perfection is a myth. Even famed speakers can fumble while speaking or forget even what they were saying. No big deal, we’re human after all, and the goal is to share useful information with the audience, at the end of the day! Keeping this in mind will help you feel more confident.
Feel Comfortable in Your Own Skin
You should never act or speak in a way that you typically don’t. Not only will you feel uncomfortable while doing it, but it may also seem unnatural to the audience. It’s your own style of presenting that will suit you the best. This is why you should present as if almost everyone in the audience knows you personally. When you use this way of thinking to your advantage, you will display your best personality traits and feel more confident.
Focus on Preparation and Organisation
By feeling fully prepared and organised for your presentation, you will feel more in control and worry less about things that can go wrong. Visit the venue you will be presenting in beforehand, or become familiar with the video streaming software, in case it’s going to be a virtual presentation. If you have prepared cue cards to use during the presentation, keep them organised and ready. Be prepared for any technical faults that might occur during the presentation. And most importantly, take good rest the night before and arrive early for the presentation.
Presenting with confidence will allow you to be more engaging, build trust, and focus on what matters the most, i.e. helping your audience and achieving your objectives. Keep in mind that presentation skills, just like any other skill, are learned and developed over time, with practice. And as you gradually master these skills, you will refine your presentation style and present with more confidence.