Speaking in front of an audience is a daunting task for many people. Your stomach gets queasy, your palms get sweaty, and your heart begins to pound. When these nerves take over, it can become difficult and even awkward to smile. Nonetheless, smiling is a powerful communication tool for presenters. When you smile, the audience immediately feels more comfortable and often begins to smile with you. That’s because a smile expresses warmth and it allows you to build trust and rapport with your audience. As a presenter, your goal is to connect with the audience and smiling increases your chances of engaging with them. Despite your nerves, it is important to try and smile when delivering a presentation. Here are some tips to help you overcome your stage fright and make a good impression with your audience by smiling.
When preparing your presentation, build in pauses so you can smile at the audience as you scan across their faces. You need to incorporate it into your presentation at the right times. For example, you can smile when you are telling a story or introducing yourself. Do be careful, however, not to smile at the wrong times. For instance, it wouldn’t make much sense to smile as you are discussing fourth quarter earnings. Smiling at the wrong time can be odd and might actually confuse your audience.
You also want to smile as you speak to people before the presentation begins. This is a great opportunity to meet and interact with your audience members and smiling will also help to relieve some of your presentation nerves. A meet and greet is an easy way to incorporate smiles in a conversational setting.
Another good time to smile is when you are listening. If your audience members are asking questions, responding to your message, or conversing with you during a meet and greet, it’s nice to smile while you are listening to them. Not only does this make the conversation more comfortable, but it also conveys that you are actively listening to what they are saying.
Create opportunities within the presentation where smiling would be appropriate. For example, tell a funny story or play an interactive game with the audience. It’s easy to include genuine smiles during these lighthearted moments.
A simple smile is contagious and can really be impactful during a presentation. It’s a great way to connect with your audience on a more personal level. It also helps you to relax and puts the audience at ease. It will be much easier to persuade an audience to buy into your message when you say it with a smile.