How To Present Confidently At Work
Many people struggle with confidence at work. According to ResumeLab, 79% of women and 62% of men experience a lack of confidence in the workplace. Confidence is essential when giving a presentation, writing an email, networking, and so many other interactions at work.
Our CEO and Founder, Jessica Chen, recently hosted a Soulcast Media | LIVE event on LinkedIn, where she interviewed Kelley School of Business Lecturer, Tatiana Kolovou.
They shared tips and personal stories about how to present confidently at work.
1. Boosting Confidence
Being nervous before a presentation is very common. However, being so nervous you cannot clearly communicate your message is a situation you want to avoid. However, there are several things you can do to boost your confidence.
Consider the following:
- Practice And Preparation – During the Soulcast Media | LIVE, Tatiana said, “Hope is not a strategy.” By this, she means you can’t simply hope things will go well; you must practice and prepare. For example, if you are going to give a presentation, you first must prepare. This means doing your research, writing your talking points, and creating your deck. Then, you will need to practice your presentation. The more practice and preparation you do, you will become more confident.
- Positive Self-Talk – You must feel good about yourself and how you can contribute to the team; otherwise, it’ll cause internal friction making you appear less confident. To feel good about yourself, you need to practice positive self-talk. For example, you can say, “I have practiced my presentation and feel fully prepared to give my presentation. I know I can give an exciting presentation. I am ready to do it!” Positive self-talk will help you mentally prepare for your presentation.
- Focus On Your Message – You may worry a lot about what the people in your audience are thinking. This can cause you to become nervous. Instead of worrying about what other people think, focus on your message. Think about how much your audience needs to hear what you have to say. For example, you may be presenting your research findings which are critical to your company’s success. Shifting your focus from what people think to your message will boost your confidence.
When you feel prepared and believe in yourself, you will boost your confidence when presenting.
2. Body Language
The way you present yourself in your body language can showcase your confidence. Even if you are nervous, if you practice confident body language, you will start to feel more confident.
Consider the following:
- Silences – During the Soulcast Media | LIVE, a question came in from the audience about what to do if you are presenting and there are silences. This generally happens when you are asking a question or leaving space for questions and answers. You can do several things to practice confident body language during silence. For example, you can scan the room slowly. Allow people to process your question. Make eye contact and smile, letting the audience know you are confident waiting for them to respond. Don’t try to rush your audience into answering. Stand firm in the silence; it will make you feel more confident.
- Posture – Your posture says a lot about you. It can make you appear confident or make you seem unsure. For example, when you enter the room to present your ideas, ensure you stand up straight with your shoulders back. If you are presenting in a virtual setting, ensure you sit on the edge of your seat. Relax your shoulders, so they don’t creep up near your ears. Even if you are anxious, having a confident posture will trick your brain into believing you are confident.
- Eye Contact – When you are anxious, you may avoid eye contact. However, this signals to your audience that you aren’t comfortable. When you are presenting, be sure to make eye contact with your audience. For example, you don’t want to stare people down, but you want to look at people to show you are comfortable presenting and engaging your audience.
Your body language can help you feel and appear more confident.
3. Quick Thinking
During the Soulcast Media | LIVE, Jessica and Tatiana both agreed, being able to think quickly will help you present more confidently at work. This is because something will inevitably not go as you planned. The more comfortable you are with quick thinking, the less disoriented you will become when a mishap occurs.
Consider the following:
- Create Hacks – Creating hacks is a great way to help you think on your feet if a mishap occurs. For example, during the Soulcast Media | LIVE, Jessica shared how she puts little icons on her slides to help remind her about a story or detail she wants to talk about during her presentation. A hack like this can help you refocus if you get off track during your presentation.
- Keep Going – If a mishap occurs, such as a technical difficulty, it is important for you to keep going. For example, if you are presenting and the slides you prepared won’t show up on the screen, you must recollect yourself and continue with your presentation. Don’t let a mishap prevent you from delivering your message.
- Prepare – Preparing for mishaps is just as important as preparing your message. For example, practice your presentation without any visual aids. This way, if your visual aids aren’t usable, you can still present your message. Think about what you would do if a light fell from the ceiling, or if your mic suddenly cut out. These are all things that could easily fluster you. However, the more prepared you are, the more confident you will be if a mishap occurs.
Quick thinking will help you be more comfortable and confident when presenting.
Confidence comes from preparation and practice. You also need to believe in yourself, and be your own number one fan.
Whenever you’re ready, there are 3 ways we can help you:
- Discover your communications style so you know where to start. Over 4,000 people have found theirs here.
- Attend our monthly communication workshop to build communications confidence (new topics: public speaking, advocating for yourself, building credibility, etc) here.
- Get your brand in front of 43k+ people by sponsoring our newsletter or Soulcast Media | LIVE LinkedIn events [contact: email@example.com]