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How to Look Confident During a Presentation
Confidence is the key to giving an effective presentation, especially when things start to go wrong. Presentation pros, like Apple's Steve Jobs, excel at presenting in high-profile, high-stakes situations because they exude confidence in front of a crowd. Presentations can be high-pressure moments, especially if you're talking to your boss or a group of colleagues, but do not despair! If you master a few public speaking tricks, you can look confident the next time you give a presentation.
Many of us struggle with pre-presentation jitters, and techniques that help calm you down before and during your talk can go a long way.
You'll be less nervous if you feel more prepared, so make sure you do the work in advance so you feel like you really know your stuff. Also, be sure you know how long you're expected to talk and plan your presentation point-by-point accordingly. You'll also want to rehearse a few times until you really get the swing of your talk and how you want to pace it.
When we get nervous, our minds can sometimes wander, so keep yourself on task and focus on slowing down if you feel yourself getting jittery. It's important to engage your audience, and visual aids can help make your presentation more interesting and serve as a visual cue to help you refocus and stay on topic if you feel shaky.
You've probably heard the phrase "fake it 'til you make it," and this applies to presentations, too. Not feeling confident? Your audience doesn't have to know! Mastering a few simple presentation skills can help you appear confident even when you're not. Rehearse your talk in front of a mirror until it's almost second nature, paying attention to your mannerisms. Stand up straight and make eye contact with people in your audience to help give you an air of confidence.
Whether you're talking to your church group or a board of directors, preparation, body language and staying on topic will go a long way toward looking confident during your next presentation.