The truth is, public speaking is pretty intimidating for most people, even for presenters with a lot of experience. But for those brand new to the game, it can be downright petrifying.
The good news is, there are a few simple things you can do to reduce your terror, increase your confidence, and appear like you’re experienced—even if it feels impossible. Apply the following tips to your presentation prep and you can bet the whole experience will be a lot easier than you thought.
Make Eye Contact
When it comes to delivering a confident presentation, making eye contact with your audience is one of the best things you can do for yourself. If you step on stage with your eyes glued to your notes, then not only will your audience know just how nervous you are, but they’ll also have a tough time connecting with your message. Research shows that eye contact with your audience will enable them to better perceive, remember, and make decisions about what you’re saying.
Avoid Filler Words
One of the biggest mistakes newbies make is packing their presentations full of “uhs” “ums” and “y’knows.” Peppering your presentation with these filler words signals to your audience that you’re not as prepared as you could be and it makes your talk tough to listen to. Your best defense against leaning on these words it’s to prepare and practice. The more familiar you are with your material and delivery, the less these words will spill out of your mouth.
Rehearse Your Delivery
A lot of presenters, both experienced and brand new, make the mistake of focusing all of their presentation prep on their content and not enough on how they’ll deliver it. But the truth is, you can have the best message in the world, but if your delivery sucks, no one will receive it. Therefore, you want to spend just as much time rehearsing as you do preparing your content. Pay mind to your tone and inflections, where you can pause for emphasis, and when to take breaks for audience questions/comments.
Less is More
Just like you don’t want to sit through a lengthy, meandering presentation, neither does your audience. Take care to edit your content down to just the main points—the less you can say about your topic while still getting your message across, the better. A good trick to find out if you’re trying to say too much is to try to say what your presentation is about using just one sentence. If you’re struggling to do that, then chances are you’ve included too much about your topic.
Use Your Body Language
Your body language is hugely important when it comes to both how confident you look and how confident you feel. If you want to command the room, you’re definitely not going to do it with stiff posture, downturned shoulders, and a meek-looking demeanor. Instead, you should hold your head up, keep your shoulders back, and don’t be afraid to move about the room. Doing so will make you appear more confident to your audience, as well as make your body feel more relaxed and at ease.
Want more ways to elevate your presentation game? Check out Ethos3’s Catapult Training.