CHAMPION STRATEGIES – PUBLIC SPEAKING WORKSHOP – JANUARY 20, 2021
How to speak with confidence in public
If you’re very familiar with the content of your presentation, your audience will perceive you as confident. Practicing tips:
- Don’t just read the presentation through – practice everything, including your transitions and using your visual aids.
- Stand up and speak it aloud as though you were presenting to an audience.
- Ensure that you practice your body language and gesturing.
- Practice in front of others and get their feedback.
- Film yourself presenting and watch it back.
- Freely improvise so you’ll sound more natural on the day. Don’t learn your presentation verbatim because you will sound uninterested and if you lose focus then you may forget everything.
Confident body language
You’ll notice that professional public speakers look relaxed and confident, they talk slowly and make positive body movements. To appear confident:
- Maintain eye contact with the audience
- Use gestures to emphasise points
- Move around the stage
- Match facial expressions with what you’re saying
- Reduce nervous habits
- Slowly and steadily breathe
- Use your voice aptly
Use your nervous energy
It can be difficult to hide your nerves so another way of dealing with this is to emphasise your emotions. This means conveying the emotions you’re explaining/you felt at the time, for example, the disappointment you felt at a failure or the excitement you felt at a finding. The emotion you display will hide your nerves.
When you’re nervous you may rush through your presentation and finish too quickly. This makes it obvious to the audience that you’re nervous, it’s probably frustrating for them to listen to and watch, you’re not taking the time to connect with them and it’s likely that you’re making mistakes. Try speaking at a speed that feels uncomfortably slow because it’s likely that’s the correct speed.
Connect with audience from the start
The first five minutes are vital for engaging the audience and getting them to listen to you. Consider telling a story about a mistake you made or maybe life wasn’t going well for you in the past – if relevant to your presentation’s aim.
People will relate to this as we have all experienced mistakes and failures. The more the audience relates to you, the more likely they will remain engaged which will increase your confidence.
Find a member of the audience that is: engaged, nodding or smiling in each section of the room. When you find yourself becoming uncomfortable you can move your eyes to the friendly face in that section.