Confidence when presenting (part I)

4th April 2023

I’ve had lots of requests for a Tip on how to build confidence when making presentations. So I’m doing two Tips on it.

I have five favourite ways to build my confidence when presenting. Here are my first three…

Which of these will help you too?

Agree Content Upfront

Every presentation I make – as in, every single one – I invest time asking what my audience’s priorities are. What do they want me to talk about? What would they find most useful? What are their biggest concerns they want help with?

Once I know this, I create my content to help them deliver on these priorities. Very useful for them, obviously. But also very useful for my confidence – before I open my mouth, I know they want to hear what I’m about to say.

Their #1 Benefit on your Slide #1

Once I know their priorities – including their #1 priority – I write it on my first slide.

This could be either as the main title, or as a sub-title. Either way, my audience sees my presentation’s title slide and thinks “this will benefit me”. Again, great for them. And – because I know they’re happy – great for my confidence too.

For example, if you were delivering a presentation on spreadsheets (you poor thing) – spoiler alert: nobody’s cares about spreadsheets. But they do care about the fact they can use spreadsheets to save two hours every week. So my slide #1 might say “Spreadsheet Masterclass – how to save two hours every week”.

Practise The Start. A Lot.

Your first sentence is your First Impression. When it goes well, your audience feels comfortable immediately. Also, so do you. So, nail your start, and you’ll probably nail the whole thing. Mess it up, and … well, there’s no nice way to end this sentence!

All this makes your first sentence absolutely critical to your confidence.

So leave nothing to chance. Script your start. Practise saying it. Out loud. At least 20-30 times.

Action Point

So, they’re my first three tips. What changes can you make, to feel more confident about your next presentation?

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