If speaking in public or giving a presentation to a group is enough to keep you up at night, don’t worry, you are not alone. More than 80% of people agonize or have some anxiety before speaking in public.
We have compiled 6 smart tips to help you feel more comfortable (and less nervous) the next time you need to command the room.
1.Maintain Eye Contact
While speaking to a group, making eye contact is very important. Eye contact will keep the individual audience members feeling important. By making eye contact and maintaining it, you will come across as more genuine and confident. Keep in mind, if you do not maintain the eye contact, you may come off as nervous. If your eyes linger a little too long, you may make the audience members uncomfortable.
2. Instead of Reading From Notes Use Visual Aids
When you present with visual aids instead reading off note cards or a sheet of paper, it comes across as though you really know your material and that you cared enough to become familiar with it. Whether it is a pamphlet or a powerpoint, visual aids will keep the audience members engaged. Visual aids also provide you, the presenter with an outline and talking points as you move through your presentation.
3. Use Appropriate Body Language
Body Language can help get a point across and keep the audience focused. As opposed to standing still with your hands by your sides, briefly moving about and small gestures will keep all eyes on you. Keep in mind that frequent movement and large gestures can be distracting. If you do not have a podium and are standing solo in front of an audience, stand straight and tall with arms by your side or let your hands fall around the waist. Never clasp your hands together below your waist.
4. Include Humor
Getting the audience to laugh can make you feel more confident and comfortable. It is also a great way to regain the attention of someone who may not be giving you their full attention. Always try to incorporate a few humorous points into your presentation. It will allow the audience to relax and connect with you while also giving you a boost of confidence.
5. Speak Slowly
When giving a presentation, speak clearly and project. It is very common for people to speak faster than usual during a presentation. Speaking slowly and clearly will give you time to think and will help the audience follow what you are saying. It is helpful to take brief pauses during transitions.
The best way to become an excellent presenter is to watch really good, experienced speakers and model your talks after theirs. Notice not just what they say, but what they do, how they move, how they sound, how they structure their talks. Add those devices to your own repertoire.
If you have prepared well and know your material, there is no reason to be nervous. If you mess up don’t make a big deal or beat yourself up. Take a moment to pause and think, then continue with your thought. If you are at ease, there is less of a chance that your nerves will take control and cause you to make a mistake.