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Presenting can be an intimidating and challenging task for many people, but it is a big part of many careers.
Being nervous can cause us to be more easily distracted, trip over our words, or skip over important points, making the presentation hard to follow and ineffective. This can make the audience less engaged and thus less likely to buy into whatever the message is you’re trying to deliver, making all your hard work go to waste.
Like most things, being a good presenter takes time and practice, but there are things you can do to help build your confidence and make the most of your presentation.
Knowing your presentation inside and out will help you feel more confident when presenting. You don’t have to have the whole thing memorized, but it might be a good idea to have your introduction ready to go. Looking down at your notes in the first few minutes will make you come across as nervous and unprepared.
Bring along well-organized notes with bullet points, keywords, and talking points as opposed to an entire speech. This will allow you to speak more organically while still staying on track and hitting all the important information.
Consider hiring online presentation designers to assemble your presentation so you have more time to focus on your talking points instead of designing the presentation. Using a presentation designer will also help your confidence when presenting as you will have an effective and eye-catching slide deck to share.
Harvard psychologist Amy Cuddy believes that if you take a powerful stance before an event you’re nervous for it can help with confidence. According to her study, taking an expansive posture can help people feel more powerful, and have an increase in confidence going into interviews, presentations, and important meetings.
Looking at yourself in the mirror and repeating positive affirmations can also help with confidence. Saying simple phrases like, “I am smart,” “I am capable,” and, “I am confident” may seem silly, but affirming these things will help you believe them and will subconsciously increase your confidence.
It’s normal for nerves to hit their peak just before starting to present. At this point, you probably can’t wait for the presentation to be over; therefore, it’s normal to start rushing through your talking points. This can make it hard for the audience to follow along and hear what you’re saying.
Before you start talking, take a deep breath and a moment to compose yourself. While these few seconds may feel like an eternity to you, it won’t feel that way to your audience and will actually make you appear more confident than you may feel.
If you’re able to, it’s a good idea to get yourself familiar with the space you will be presenting in and the equipment you will be using. This way, you’ll be able to visualize your presentation beforehand and decide where you want to stand, if you’ll have space to walk around, and where your audience will be.
Understanding the equipment you’ll be working with will also help eliminate as many tech problems as possible. Prepare yourself in advance for the possibility of technology glitches so you aren’t taken by surprise or thrown off if they arise during your presentation.
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