6 ways to improve your confidence during a presentation
Thursday, August 08, 2019
A shaky voice...no projection...stuttering...you may have dealt with all these issues prior to a big presentation. A fear of public speaking, as you probably know, is an incredibly common issue even the most experienced businesspeople face.
You might be unsure how to nip these problems in the bud if you're not used to speaking before groups, but you can. These strategies will stop public speaking jitters from becoming a long-term issue and give you a lot more confidence!
Focus on feelings.
Figure out whether you're feeling anxious from a psychological standpoint or stressed out for another reason.
Are you as prepared as you can be? Make sure of that — do a double-check of your work, which will relieve a lot of pressure right away.
Then, reassure yourself that your work is good and jump in. The mere act of starting to talk will cut your anxiety down in stages as you talk through the material you are confident in presenting. Also, let yourself get excited at the thought you'll do well!
A study by Harvard Business School reported that psyching yourself up to anticipate a positive reaction to your speech is great for calming those butterflies. Positive thinking produces positive results!
Practice good communication.
Let’s say you speak over people because of nerves or stumble over words in an interactive presentation setting. You can greatly benefit when you learn to pause your verbal expression — i.e., actively practicing the skill of completely listening to a person's thoughts before responding and avoiding any impulse to interrupt as someone is talking.
Gently practice these skills as you engage in every conversation on a daily basis.
As a child, Carly Simon overcame a stutter when her mother pointed out that one can't sing and stutter at the same time. Simon got in the habit of singing in daily conversation, laying the groundwork for her amazing music career.
Sing "conversationally" with your spouse or family at home — it will smooth out cadences and encourage happiness at the same time!
Speaking of stammering, a new study from the University of Missouri-Columbia found that stuttering or feeling a frog in your throat before you speak publicly may have to do with stress-related brain activation.
Breathing deeply is great way to calm your whole body and nip that physical stress in the bud; practice it before your speech for five minutes and feel the difference.
Share your concern.
It's perfectly OK to kick off a presentation with the simple words, "I'm not super-comfortable with public speaking…I'm sure most of the people in this room can relate." They can! This kind of honesty will not only relax you but win over your audience from the get-go.
Don't expect perfection.
It may take consistent effort and a few presentations before you feel like you've improved significantly. Give yourself time and reward yourself with a tasty lunch or dinner after you do make confident progress after a presentation. You've got this!
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