CONFIDENCE is the key to successful presentations. However, standing in front of a crowd with confidence is a massive challenge for any presenter.
There is no guaranteed way to gain the confidence to give a strong public speech, but here are four tips that could help you break through your fear and be a powerful public speaker.
1. Know yourself
In the last two issues of Lift, we at AIESEC have clearly defined the four major communication styles; namely informative, sincere, persuasive and entertaining. Knowing yourself and what you want to represent will help you show off your strengths and improve your weaknesses.
2. Believe in yourself
You must truly believe in what you are talking about. Demonstrating a deep passion and strong belief will grab the audience’s attention. Do not be afraid of the audience; they want you to succeed because they don’t want to spend their time listening to an uncomfortable or complicated presentation.
3. Prepare yourself
If you prepare yourself as much as possible you will be in control during your speech. Before giving any presentation, ask yourself these questions: Who is your audience? What style will you use? What do they want to hear? Go over your materials until you know exactly how your presentation will go.
Most people discover their mistakes while practicing, and it is always better to notice your mistakes before you are in front of dozens of people. Practice makes perfect and therefore you needn’t ask yourself if your presentation is perfect, just ask yourself if you have practiced as much as you can. You can practice in front of a mirror or with a group of friends.
When it is time to begin, everyone feels nervous before their presentation. Even experienced speakers feel their heart beat faster. Don’t think you’re a wimp when your hands start shaking, just hide it. It is not whether or not you feel nervous, it’s how you deal with it.
“I have done hundreds of presentations, but I still feel nervous before each one,” said Jan Bartsch, the co-founder of AIESEC Cambodia. “I would consider it a problem if I didn’t feel nervous. Fear indicates how much I care about the presentation.”
He also added that “most speakers experience fear because they don’t know themselves. If you know your communication style and your materials, you’ll be nervous but you won’t be terrified. Knowing yourself will help control your fear”.
Bartsch compared giving a good presentation to playing football. “If you want to be a good football player, you have to practice it. Likewise, to be a good presenter, it requires a lot of practice and effort. Attempt to make 20 serious presentations, you will see the difference,” Bartsch said. “These skills will never be achieved by accident. You have to push yourself forward by walking out of your comfort zone and committing yourself.”