Top Tips to Present with Confidence – Part 3

In the last part of this blog series, read exclusive tips for preparing a successful presentation on stage.

1. Superstitious?

If you happen to have a lucky charm, then why not wear it? Even though chances are your charm doesn’t have any magical powers, it has a placebo effect. You might just feel luckier and more confident while wearing it. A little bit of magic has never hurt a presenter.

2. Ask Questions.

Ask your audience questions (hypothetical or real) to drive your message home to your audience. It doesn’t matter if the questions are easy or difficult, the main thing is that your listeners think about the topic and how it relates to them.

3. Explain piece by piece.

If you are giving a particularly long or information-heavy speech, divide it up into parts that can be better rehearsed, as well as parts that can be more easily digested by your audience. You may even want to break sentences down to highlight important sections. Sometimes it is even enough to take a single word and extrapolate on it to further unfold the topic.

4. Drive your call to action forward.

As already mentioned, it’s important to already consider the call to action when making your presentation. The CTA however only really works if it is presented with some enthusiasm. Make a pause before and after the CTA and drive it home with your best, “and now for the most important thing” face.

5. Don’t dress up.

If your jewelry is noisy, your outfit restricts your movement, or shines rainbow colors across the room, don’t put it on. You can of course have your own personal style, you don’t need to look like all the others. Have confidence in wearing something that doesn’t conformed and isn’t “corporate”. What matters is that it reflects your own identity. Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs didn’t become who they are today because they spent countless hours debating on what to wear.

6. Encourage questions.

Question and answer sessions are most successful when the audience feels comfortable. Encourage even the most absurd questions and find a way to come back to your message with the answer. If you let your audience know beforehand the presentation that a question and answer session will be held after the presentation, your listeners can already consider and prepare appropriate questions. This can help possibly avoid a few meaningless questions or utter silence.

7. To heck with hecklers.

Every now and then you will get a trouble maker sitting in the audience interrupting you with critical comments. If that happens, don’t answer with a counter argument but answer with a question. Be careful what tone and volume you use when answering. Keep calm, that way you take the wind out of their sails. It is always legitimate to ask hecklers to save their questions for after the lecture so you can better clarify. Do this with an especially friendly and enthusiastic attitude and not in a confronting manner. Try a phrase like, “I would be happy to speak with you in detail after the presentation.”

8. Hire a coach.

Should your nerves get the best of you and there is a lot at stake, don’t be shy to hire a coach. You can participate in group courses in which presentations are practiced or hire a speech trainer who can also give you tips and help you gain confidence. Regardless of what kind of presenter you are, your presentation skills will certainly benefit from the training and feedback provided by others.