Since I’m constantly being asked for tips on how to confidently deliver a presentation, here are a few that should apply whether you have to do a short talk in front of to 10 strangers or you’re hoping to become a professional motivational speaker.
First of all, the better prepared you are, the more you rehearse, the more confident you will be. Then:
- Focus on the audience; never focus on yourself. It’s all about what you, your words and your message can do for them. And it’s difficult to be nervous when you’re focused on someone else.
- Keep it conversational, as if you’re talking to a single person. No one gets nervous when talking to a single person.
- NEVER simply read the text. If necessary, speak from notes, but use as few notes as possible.
- Avoid standing behind the lectern if you can. But if you do have to deliver an unfamiliar speech from a lectern, pause as you glance down at your notes then look up and deliver the line, making eye contact with an audience member. Hold each person’s gaze for an entire thought then move on to continue carrying on the conversation with another individual.
- Use a story, example or anecdote to back up each major point. We all love stories.
And don’t worry about a little bit of nervousness. Use that nervousness to make your presentation more lively. As a professional speaker, I get worried if I’m not a little nervous. I’ll actually try to make myself a little tense to get my energy level up.