Here are seven helpful tips:
1. Prepare in advance
One of the most common reasons why people feel anxious about a presentation is that they have not spent enough time preparing for it. For this reason, you can succeed in becoming a more confident presenter by preparing for your presentation in advance.
Preparing in advance does not mean that you need to write a script and memorize it word for word. However, it is helpful to create an outline of the points you want to convey and the examples you will use to illustrate them. Preparing for potential questions in advance can also make you a more confident presenter by reducing your fears about what people may ask you.
2. Visualize success
One way to fight off the crippling self-doubt and anxiety that you experience before a presentation is to visualize yourself delivering a successful one. During the days leading up to your presentation, sit or lie down in a quiet place, close your eyes, and picture yourself delivering your presentation. Imagine that you are speaking confidently and engaging your audience successfully.
It may be hard to believe that visualizing yourself delivering a successful presentation will help you become a more confident presenter. However, research shows that imagining a positive outcome can make it more likely to happen.
3. Transform nervousness into enthusiasm
Most people, even experienced speakers, feel nervous before delivering a presentation. For this reason, avoid trying to eliminate your anxiety altogether. Instead, become a more confident presenter by transforming feelings of nervousness into enthusiasm or energy you can harness to deliver a powerful presentation.
Transform nerves into focused energy by listening to upbeat music, reading motivational quotes, or visualizing yourself delivering a successful presentation. Feeling nervous about a presentation signals that you care about delivering it successfully. Use these feelings as a source of fuel that helps you resonate with your audience and provide value to them.
4. Do not aim for perfection
You may be particularly likely to feel nervous about a presentation if your goal is to deliver it perfectly. However, no matter how much time you spend preparing for your presentation and rehearsing it, you are bound to make some small mistakes. For example, you may stutter on a word or forget to share your favourite example with your audience.
Remember that small mistakes are not the end of the world when delivering a presentation. In fact, they can make you seem more authentic to your audience. As a result, you can become a more confident presenter by letting go of the idea that your presentation needs to be perfect.
5. Arrive early
If your presentation will take place in a room that you have never visited before, you may feel nervous about presenting in an unfamiliar setting. To feel more confident about your presentation, arrive at the venue early so that you have enough time to settle in before your presentation begins.
Arriving early gives you time to decide where you will stand during the presentation, what type of lighting will work best, and how the audio/visual equipment functions. Feeling comfortable in the presentation room can help you be a more confident presenter.
6. Pause and breathe
You may find that when you feel nervous during a presentation, your breathing becomes shallow and rapid. What does rapid, shallow breathing do? It increases your heart rate, which only makes you feel more nervous.
You can become a more confident presenter by taking time to pause and breathe while you speak. Do not attempt to fill every second of your presentation with speech. Instead, pause between your points. Pausing gives you an opportunity to breathe deeply and regulate your body’s stress response. It also gives your audience an opportunity to absorb the information you have just delivered.
7. Act confident
Even if you use the tips outlined above during your next presentation, you may still feel your heart beating rapidly or your palms becoming sweaty. However, there is something important to keep in mind: your audience usually cannot tell how nervous you are.
For this reason, you can become a more confident presenter in part by acting more confident. Stand tall, make eye contact with people in the audience, and smile from time to time. Confident body language can increase how persuasive you are to your audience and make you feel more comfortable about your performance.
You have the power to become a more confident presenter
Speaking in front of an audience is one of the most common fears people have. However, there are strategies you can use both before and during your presentation to become a more confident presenter. These tips may not immediately eliminate your presentation anxiety, but over time, they can help you deliver powerful presentations with poise.