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How to gain confidence during a presentation

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Nobody was born with confidence, but the trait can be taught, nurtured and built with time. With self-confidence comes better self-esteem.

Confidence is something that can be learned at any stage in life. As one famous writer once wrote: “Fears are educated into us, and they can be educated out,” so confidence can be educated into us too. In this article, I am going to explore ways that can make you as a presenter more comfortable than you feel.

There is need for you as a presenter to acknowledge your fears.

As you prepare for your presentation, you should realise that the way you feel is not unique to you alone. Fear of public speaking is the number one fear people share, even those people you think of as successful.

Recognising that fear is universal will definitely help you put it in perspective. Remember then that the difference between those in the audience and you as the presenter is that you have learned how to master your fear instead of letting it master you.

So all you need is to relax and be in control.
As a presenter you must be proud of the fact that you have been given the privilege to make a presentation on behalf of others.

If your boss or your co-workers did not have confidence in you, you would not be standing in front of them.

Accept their confidence and don’t let them down. Use that as a weapon to build self-confidence in yourself. Remember that the message that you want deliver is “new” to your audience.

They are not aware of what you are going to say, so view your presentation as an opportunity to share your knowledge and enthusiasm with them.
As a presenter, there is need for you to anticipate objections from your audience.

Always review your presentation from your audience’s point of view. It is recommended that as you polish up your presentation, you must try to locate holes in your arguments and when you have identified any weak points, return to your presentation and provide additional data.

It is also important to look for any opportunities where your audience might question your facts or interpretations. This gives you an opportunity to gather facts to support your arguments and conclusions.

Another important thing to remember is to familiarise yourself with the presentation environment.

This calls for you to arrive early at the presentation venue so as to test out all equipment which you are going to use as well as locating lighting switches and any other issues that may affect your presentation.

It is very embarrassing to realise that your laptop might not be compatible with the power point which will be used at the seminar for this will put off your audience and their confidence in you as an effective presenter will be affected.

So be organised and take charge from the outset and you will win your audience.

It is also important for you as a presenter to locate “allies” as you introduce yourself to your audience and as you observe your audience during your presentation.

There is need for you to notice how some people in your audience smile, nod their head or take notes.

Project to them and let them build your confidence. Acceptance creates confidence, so accepting a “nod of confidence” on point one provides a foundation which will assist you make an even better presentation of point two.

So it is imperative that you build and maintain that strong relationship with part of your audience.
Finally, as a presenter, you need to guard against prejudging your performance.

It is impossible to predict the success of your presentation.

You are likely to lose confidence if you allow your perception of your audience’s reaction to demoralise you during your presentation.

So, just do your best and let evaluations fall where they may. So have confidence in your ability to put across the knowledge which you spent valuable time preparing and do what you know best.

Paul Nyausaru is a training and development practitioner. Views contained in this article are personal.

You can contact him on email pnyausaru@yahoo.co.uk.

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