So, Let’s consider: How can you be more confident with that presentation or in what you do?
OK, so you’re having to do a presentation of some sort. It could be to the client, the boss, your church, some small group, or where ever you find yourself. It could even be an informal meeting in the hall. Then, you feel yourself and your voice start to shake. You look them in the eye and your whole mind goes to yogurt. So, let’s take a look at this.
Confidence in yourself goes a long way in selling your message and getting it and you accepted by your target. The nice thing is that confidence can be learned, developed and even faked. So, let’s look at a few ways to help you believe in yourself and by extension, others will believe in you.
You’re generally not being timed with a stop watch and you’re not calling the race at the dog track, so you don’t have to talk fast. Slowing down gives you more credibility and your audience has more time to understand and digest what you’re saying. If you talk too fast your audience will think you’re nervous and it lowers their comfort level with you. Speaking slowly and deliberately will tell people that you’re thoughtful and what you have to say has credibility.
If you have notes, bring them…and use them…
If you think that having and using notes will compromise you and your position, it won’t. Even the most experienced speakers and presenters use notes and keep supporting information handy in case they have to refer to it. It’s part of being prepared and it shows strength in your position.
However, having said that, don’t read from them as you would a script unless you have to quote a specific passage to support your presentation or answer a question. Notes and reference material are with you to help support your presentation, not be your presentation.
The audience is your center of attention…
The people that you’re talking to and working with need to be the focus of your attention. They’re your audience. Look at them when you’re talking to them, even if it’s just one to one.
Looking at the audience gives you the chance to read them and to judge how they’re receiving your message and if you need to make any mid course corrections. Are they confused? Does something need to be clarified or expanded? Establishing and maintaining eye contact builds rapport with your audience and with that confidence in your presentation.
By focusing on what their needs are and what’s important to them, so take the attention and emphasis off of you and place it on to them and your message. If their attention is wandering to counting ceiling tiles or what’s for lunch then you need to be moving to either get more enthusiastic and involved in your topic, move on to the next line item or order lunch.
Speak to the point…
Some people call this being direct. Get on topic and stay on topic. If you meander, hem and haw, pause, stumble about or starting using what is clearly filler, then you can expect to not only lose your audience, but your credibility and confidence.
Practice delivering what you want to say without distracting verbiage that trends away from the message you want to deliver. The higher comfort factor you have on fluid delivery of your presentation, the better both you and your audience will feel.
Be what your audience looks at…
OK, sometimes presentations requires visuals or what you’re presenting needs to have large pictures for people to see. That aside, YOU need to be what people see when they look at that stage. You need to be that center of focus that the audience thinks is as large as life. Stand and walk confidently. This may take some practice but it’s time well spent. Presenting a confident image of you as authoritative in what you are presenting will make or break your presentation.
Be mentally ready and strong…
The old adage of “if you think you can, you can; if you think you can’t, you won’t,” is as strong here as it ever was. You have to be in a confident frame of mind to deliver a strong, effective and credible presentation. Believe in yourself and others will as well. Show that you believe in yourself, what you’re doing and others will believe in you as well.
I like to watch how others do their deliveries. Youtube and things like TED talks are great examples to use to study delivery styles and methods. You also get to sometimes see how people recover from a mistake. Learn from other peoples successes and failures. And, always, feel free to improve and make their methods fit your mold.
Vene Vidi Vici…
Now, it’s time to go forth and conquer. Expect to stumble a time or two, that’s all part of life and learning. It’s not stumbling that’s important, it’s getting up and continuing on that is.
I’m Don Rima and that’s the view From Where I Stand.
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