10 Tips on Building Self Confidence Before an Important Presentation
Just before you walk on the stage to deliver your presentation, you might feel jittery, confused and even a bit sick. Some people can even suffer from some kind of body ache or nausea due to the stress associated with public speaking. The problem usually eases out as the presenter walks on stage and begins the presentation. This can happen even to the best of presenters and often to people who are simply afraid of public speaking. However, you can avoid the aforementioned by following our 10 tips on building self-confidence before an important presentation.
1. Identify and Eliminate the Main Cause of Anxiety
While you might think this is easier said than done; identifying and eliminating the cause for anxiety is essential. For example, your anxiety levels might dip once you have properly prepared the presentation and have accounted for tough questions during a mock session. Many times, it is the lack of preparation that causes anxiety. If you have prepared well enough and endlessly looked at all possible loopholes in your argument, you have nothing to worry about.
2. Know You Can’t Satisfy Everyone
Despite your best preparation, you might still need to dodge a tough question or play down an argument politely, however, this should not hurt your performance as a presenter. There will always be people in the audience who might not agree with you or don’t buy your argument. But know that you can agree to disagree, and that’s OK. Understanding this very factor can help you build self-confidence and not be taken back by criticism during a Q&A session. You can also perform a mock with a friend and ask him/her to be critical and even rude to help you better understand how to tackle trouble-mongers and be content with your argument.
3. Understand Your Audience
Using terminologies that your audience does not understand won’t win you any points. It is important to understand the type of audience you are presenting to and account for their understanding of the topic. If the audience is not as technical, you can do away with difficult terms or at least explain them when necessary. Appreciating what such a community holds dear can also win you some points. For example, if you’re presenting in a foreign country, you can appreciate the things they take pride in, such as perhaps their culture, cuisine or manners. This will help you create goodwill. Knowing your audience can reduce half your anxiety.
4. Incorporate Storytelling in Your Presentation
One of the factors that can affect self-confidence is a dull presentation. By incorporating storytelling, you can create a compelling presentation and be confident enough to have something novel for the audience. You can link your topic with a personal experience and explain it at the start and conclude it at the end of the presentation. For example, you can talk about your struggles in life and link it to your topic. At the end of the presentation you can discuss your success amidst the struggle and link it to your conclusion.
5. Use a Video or Graphics to Ease Your Burden
When there is a lot to explain to an audience, the presenter can get lost in translation. No one should have to present 30 PowerPoint slides explaining a topic that can be easily made cohesive with some visual aid. You can include a YouTube video, graphic or short animation in your presentation to get a breather during your presentation session and make your job easy. If you know that a significant portion of your job is covered, it will help improve your self-confidence. Furthermore, videos and graphics can help explain the content of dozens of slides in a matter of a few minutes. Try to use a short video of 2-3 minutes or a graphic that plays out automatically; to show a change or trend to use as visual aid.
6. Include Counter Arguments in Your Presentation
If you’re afraid that the audience might attack you on certain points, you can cover the criticism yourself in your slides and immediately offer a counter argument. This will make it hard for your audience to ask sharp questions and you won’t get caught up in an argument. In case someone criticizes you on the point already covered, you can refer to the answer you gave as a counterargument during the presentation. By ‘presentation’, it doesn’t need to be specifically supported by PowerPoint, but if you use Microsoft PowerPoint to support your speech you can download free PowerPoint templates with useful slides to use in a counter argument topic from FPPT.
7. Plan to Reward Yourself After the Presentation
Since public speaking can be tough and nerve wrecking, it is always a good idea to keep your eye out for something relaxing. You can plan to reward yourself after the presentation session by doing something you like. You can take a day off, go out for coffee, sleep long hours or treat yourself to your favorite dish. Knowing that you will do something you like after the presentation session can motivate you and improve your self-confidence before an important presentation.
8. Don’t be Afraid of Fumbling
Fumbling a bit during a presentation isn’t a bad thing. You need not to worry about it. In fact, if things get a bit tricky, you can even acknowledge before your audience that you are a bit nervous. Knowing you can do something like this will help ease your anxiety and allow you to be at your best. Tell yourself before the presentation that it is alright to be nervous and to fumble a bit.
9. Pick Your Food and Beverages Smartly
Avoid cold, carbonated beverages and dairy products before a presentation. Avoid anything that might make speaking difficult, cause a sore throat or give you cramps. You can keep a water bottle to sip through the presentation session to avoid dry mouth. You can treat yourself to some caffeine or warm beverage before the event to get your energy going. If you’re allergic or have issues with some type of foods, know your triggers and avoid them. Some foods for example, can trigger symptoms of Irritable Bowl Syndrome (IBS), whereas some people might want to avoid water to avoid a full bladder during the presentation. Know what might harm you and what works best for you and use it to avoid body aches and cramps associated with anxiety.
10. Get a Feel of the Stage
You can reach the venue early and get a feel of the stage. You can pick a spot to stand, perform a mock presentation and check the equipment to make sure everything is working as it should. Getting a feel of the stage can familiarize you with the place and can help improve self-confidence with a sense of familiarity.
Photo source Unsplash @productschool
Public speaking is not as scary as most people consider it to be. Most people get rid of the anxiety once they present a few times frequently. Not worrying about failure and planning to do your best can help you improve self-confidence. Even if you have to give an impromptu presentation, speaking from the heart can help you win over your audience. Keep your eye on the prize, i.e. a successful presentation and a treat for yourself after the session to relax your nerves and enjoy your time. Even if you are unable to immediately treat yourself to a reward, you can do so as soon as you get some time. At the end of the day, a presentation does not determine your whole life, it is just a few minutes on stage, after which you go back to your life.