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 we cannot clearly communicate our message is a situation we want to avoid. However, there are several things we can do to boost our confidence.
Consider the following:
- Practice And Preparation – During the Soulcast Media | LIVE, Tatiana said, “Hope is not a strategy.” By this, she means we can’t simply hope things will go well; we must practice and prepare. For example, if we are going to give a presentation, we first must prepare. This means researching, writing our talking points, and creating our deck. Then, we will need to practice our presentation. The more practice and preparation we do, the more confident we will be.
- Positive Self-Talk – We must feel good about ourselves and how we can contribute to the team; otherwise, it’ll cause internal friction making us appear less confident. To feel good about ourselves, we need to practice positive self-talk. For example, we 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 us mentally prepare for our presentation.
- Focus On Our Message – We may worry a lot about what the people in our audience are thinking. This can cause us to become nervous. Instead of worrying about what other people think, we need to focus on our message. Think about how much our audience needs to hear what we have to say. For example, we may be presenting our research findings which are critical to our company’s success. Shifting our focus from what people think to our message will boost our confidence.
When we feel prepared and believe in ourselves, we will boost our confidence when presenting.
2. Body Language
The way we present ourselves in our body language can showcase our confidence. Even if we are nervous, if we practice confident body language, we 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 we are presenting and there are silences. This generally happens when we are asking a question or leaving space for questions and answers. We can do several things to practice confident body language during silence. For example, we can scan the room slowly. Allow people to process our questions. Make eye contact and smile, letting the audience know we are confident and waiting for them to respond. We shouldn’t rush our audience into answering. We must stand firm in the silence; it will make us feel more confident.
- Posture – Our posture says a lot about us. It can make us appear confident or make us seem unsure. For example, when we enter the room to present our ideas, we must stand up straight with our shoulders back. If we present in a virtual setting, we must sit on the edge of our seats. Relax our shoulders, so they don’t creep up near our ears. Even if we are anxious, having a confident posture will trick our brains into believing we are confident.
- Eye Contact – When we are anxious, we may avoid eye contact. However, this signals to our audience that we aren’t comfortable. When presenting, we need to make eye contact with our audience. For example, we don’t want to stare people down, but we want to look at people to show we are comfortable presenting and engaging our audience.
Our body language can help us 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 us present more confidently at work. This is because something will inevitably not go as we planned. The more comfortable we are with quick thinking, the less disoriented we will become when a mishap occurs.
Consider the following:
- Create Hacks – Creating hacks is a great way to help us think on our 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 us refocus if we get off track during our presentation.
- Keep Going – If a mishap occurs, such as a technical difficulty, we must keep going. For example, if we are presenting and the slides we prepared won’t show up on the screen, we must recollect ourselves and continue with our presentation. We can’t let a mishap prevent us from delivering our message.
- Prepare – Preparing for mishaps is just as important as preparing our message. For example, we need to practice our presentation without any visual aids. This way, if our visual aids aren’t usable, we can still present our message. We can think about what we would do if a light fell from the ceiling, or if our mic suddenly cut out. These are all things that could easily fluster us. However, the more prepared we are, the more confident we will be if a mishap occurs.
Quick thinking will help us be more comfortable and confident when presenting.
Confidence comes from preparation and practice. We also need to believe in ourselves, and be our own number-one fans.
Check out Jessica’s Youtube Channel if you want to see the full LIVE version of Jessica and Tatiana’s conversation.
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