You’re about to give a presentation—to your boss, your department, or a room full of family and friends. You’re anxious! Remind yourself that in this situation, even confident speakers feel tense. Here are 12 things confident speakers do to overcome their nerves and stay calm and in control as they give memorable, upbeat presentations.
Confident speakers: Recast their “nerves” as “excitement” to help convince themselves that they’ll impress the audience and to remind themselves that they’ve done well in the past, despite their nerves.
Confident speakers: Avoid “ums,” “ahs,” and filler phrases like “basically,” “literally,” and “I think that...” These words and expressions make anyone sound tentative. Confident speakers pause briefly to remind themselves to banish these empty fillers.
Confident speakers: Vary their tone as they speak. They don’t shout, rush through their presentations, or end sentences in an upward tone, as if they’re asking a question.
Confident speakers: Don’t stand stock still behind the podium. They stand up straight with their shoulders back, move around the stage, and gesture to emphasize important points.
Confident speakers: Connect with audience members by making eye contact with a few of them. They also involve the audience by asking questions, for example, “Everyone who has ever experienced XYZ, please raise your hands!”
Confident people: Write out key points on their phone, a tablet, or index cards that they briefly refer to during their talk to stay on track.
Confident speakers: Help themselves remain calm and build their poise by taking deep breathes before and during their talks.
Confident speakers: Understand that a moment or two of silence will engage the audience, which is waiting to hear what comes next.
Confident speakers: Know their talking points backward and forward—because they’ve practiced them several times—alone and or with friends. They even tape themselves, play back their presentations, and made any changes they deem necessary.
Confident speakers: Use easy-to-understand language, because “hundred- dollar words” are a turn-off.
Confident speakers: Time their talks and prepare extra material in case they finish early.
Confident speakers: Visualize the audience enthusiastically listening to them. They realize that the audience wants them to succeed. It wants to be engaged, educated, amused, and wowed by what they have to say!