How to Portray Confidence During a Presentation

Giving a presentation is something most people don’t get overly excited about it.  In fact, it usually makes people feel anxious and uncomfortable.  It can be especially nerve-racking to get up in front of a board of directors or potential clients.  Chances are these audiences know a lot about what you are talking about so the pressure can be intense. The key to a good presentation is confidence.  While some people have a natural knack for public speaking, others do not.  These tips will prepare you for your next presentation so you will be able to exude confidence.

Prepare

The best way to calm your nerves during a presentation is to know you have a good one to present.  It is much easier to feel confident when you have your presentation well planned out.  As with just about anything, preparation is crucial.   Jot down all of the points you want to cover and write down a few details about each.  Be sure to edit your notes in order to keep it concise.  Decide which visuals you plan to use including slideshows, photographs, video clips, props, etc.

Rehearse

Once you have prepared your presentation, it is important to rehearse it.  The more you rehearse the more natural it will begin to feel.  Rehearse in front of a small audience who can provide helpful feedback.  It is also a good idea to record yourself so you can make note of any awkward gestures, body language, voice inflection, and length.  Rehearsing allows you to tweak the presentation in order to improve your delivery.

Positive Body Language

Much of your impact as a speaker depends on your body language.  Positive body language supports the message and reflects confidence and credibility.  This begins with your stance.  Stance alone can tell the audience if you are feeling confident or nervous.  Stand up straight but remain relaxed.  Lean in towards the audience from time to time to engage with them.  You should also be aware of your hands.  They should not be in your pockets, on your hips, or folded across your chest.  Rather, use your hands throughout the presentation to support what you are saying.  For example, words like “tall”, “short”, “long”, or “small” can easily be portrayed with the hands.  Don’t be afraid to walk around the stage instead of standing still behind a podium.  This is another great way to engage the audience and demonstrate that you are confident about what you are saying.

Make Eye Contact

If there’s one thing you should do to evoke confidence during a presentation, its making eye contact.  This important non-verbal cue projects self-esteem and assertiveness.  Looking down or around makes one appear nervous, so it is important to look your audience directly in the eyes to create an emotional connection.  Throughout the presentation, be sure to focus on specific audience members individually so you don’t look as though you are just scanning the room.  Never underestimate the power of eye contact.

Smile

In a situation where you want to make a strong and confident impression smiling is essential.  A confident smile shows the audience that you are prepared and calm.  When you have a serious, rigid look on your face, the audience might perceive that as nervousness and you lose your credibility.  So walk out proudly and begin with a friendly confident smile.