Leadership & Communication

5 tips for speaking with more confidence

17 Jul 2013, by Informa Insights

Communicating with Influence and Professional PresenceDo you suffer from a fear of public speaking? Whether you’re a seasoned director or a new graduate starting at your first job, the chances are you feel some angst when delivering a presentation in front of others.

In fact, a whopping 75 per cent of people are thought to experience glossophobia (the fancy name for public speaking anxiety) to some extent. To put this in perspective, that’s a higher percentage than those who fear dying, which is around 68 per cent. And while it may help to know you’re not alone in your concerns over public speaking, here are a few more tangible tips for presenting with confidence.

Prepare

This seems obvious, but you’re only as good as your preparation. Know your subject matter inside out and ensure you can answer any questions that may crop up.

Avoid reading from a script

While it may be comforting to have your presentation laid out in front of you, your delivery is likely to be wooden if you’re reading straight from a piece of paper.

Write how you speak

If you decide to use cue cards or other forms of guidance, make sure they are noted down in a way that comes across as natural speech. The written word can often seem stuffy and dry when read aloud.

Practise, practise, practise

No matter how well prepared you are in terms of subject matter, you’ll need to practise your presentation over and over to ensure you are familiar with it.

Ask a friend or family member – or better still a colleague or mentor – to sit in and critique your performance so that you can iron out any kinks well in advance.

Open and close strongly

The most memorable parts of your speech are going to be the opening and closing comments, so try to start and finish convincingly.

Try to avoid ending on a Q&A, as you may find an audience member steals your thunder at the very end.

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