How to be a Confident Presenter – 10 Easy Steps

How to become a confident presenter…

…and banish your fear of public speaking

There is no one cure for the fear of public speaking.  Each person is different. At the same time, whatever your fears, they can be overcome.

You can be a confident presenter if you follow these simple steps. Then, you will look confident, feel confident and ultimately become confident about public speaking. We have coached thousands of people to help them deliver confident persuasive talks and presentations.

Ten top tips for confident presenting and public speaking

  1. Start planning early
  2. Make the talk about your audience
  3. Start strong
  4. Use a clear structure
  5. Bring it to life
  6. Talk to one person at a time
  7. Use short phrases and short words
  8. Plenty of pauses
  9. Look people in the eye
  10. Practice

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be a confident presenter

How to be a confident presenter

1. Confident presenting: Start planning your talk early

As Benjamin Franklin said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Start work as soon as you can and let your talk evolve. A few notes on a blank sheet of paper is the perfect beginning. The less public speaking you do, the more preparation you need. Even experienced speakers will tell you the value of time in creating a great confident talk.

2. Confident presenting: Turn your talk so it’s about them, not about you

This is one of the most powerful techniques to help build confidence. By repositioning your talk so it’s about the audience rather then about you, you’ll find it easier to be confident and engaging.

For example, rather than talking about “What we did to make this project a success” talk about “How this project will help you achieve your sales targets.”

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3. How to sound confident presenting: Craft a powerful start

When you start well, it’s easier to continue well. Your first 30 seconds are the most important part of your talk. If unsure how to start, use a tried and tested approach that others have proven. Get your start right and the rest will feel much easier.

4. How to feel confident presenting: Use a clear structure

If you make it easy for your audience to follow your talk, you will make it easier for you to give it. Generally it is smarter to have a few good ideas covered well rather than a lot of ideas covered quickly. Give yourself a strong start, a simple logical framework and a powerful end.

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5. How to be a confident presenter: Bring your talk to life

Beware of a fact-laden presentation. The best talks are animated with stories, metaphors, observations and personal anecdotes. One story is worth a dozen pages of data.

6. How to be confident: Talk to one person at a time

Unless you really are a politician who needs to win thousands of votes, beware of declaiming to the masses. Instead imagine your talk as a conversation – one person at a time. You will find it much easier to give your talk when you use the same language, structure and phrasing that you use when talking to one person.

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7. How to feel confident presenting: Use short phrases and short words

Winston Churchill said “Short words are best and old words when short are the best of all.” Edit your talk to use shorter, simpler phrases and words. The simpler you can make it, the more authoritative and confident you will sound.

8. How to sound confident presenting: Include plenty of pauses

Pauses in your talk – are like white space in a piece of design. They give it meaning and form. A pause is a time for your audience to absorb what you have said – and for you to compose your next phrase. Use them to separate ideas – and point your audience to what is important.

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9. How to look confident: Look people in the eye

When you have eye contact it is
(1)  more interesting for your audience, and
(2) helps you adjust to the pace of your audience.

Aim to speak to one person for each sentence or two.

10. How to become confident for ever: Practise

You can make yourself confident through practice.  Psychological research says that those who pretend to be confident eventually become more confident. So, learn how to look confident and then continue. Fake it until you make it.

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You may be surprised to find how many known public speakers actually share a fear of public speaking. But they know they have to look good to be successful. So they work at it, often with professional coaches and trainers. Over the years we have helped many CEOs and senior executives overcome their fear of public speaking.

You can do the same.

Remember: we all feel nervous when we talk in public. This is a good thing.  If we didn’t feel nervous public speaking, then we would not be taking our work seriously. Use these tips for confident business presentations.

Even Churchill felt nervous

First thing to realise is that everyone good feels nervous when presenting. Even Winston Churchill, did not like public speaking and felt uncomfortable doing so. But, like many of us, he realised that to succeed in his profession he had to focus his nervous energy.

Use that nervous energy to look confident

Your nervous energy can be used and channelled. Much of the feeling of nerves is because of a rush of adrenaline that can be used for fright or flight. The trick that successful speakers use is to focus the energy into their talk. Rather than a wobbly voice, shaking hands or nervous body posture, you can channel the energy into a louder voice, more animated talking or stronger hand gestures.

Use relaxation exercises to reduce speaking nerves

For different people, different relaxation exercises work. Some of the most common exercises include:

  • slow, steady breathing
  • imaging a smiling happy audience
  • rapid shaking of hands;
  • holding your fingers in the OM mudra position

Your nerves don’t show

At Benjamin Ball Associates, we often use cameras in business presentation training. We use these to show that even when you feel nervous, you can look confident. Most of the time the audience is unaware of the inner turmoil that a speaker is going through. By demonstrating that the audience is unaware of a speaker’s inner feelings,  speakers relax more.

Start your journey to world-class public speaking skills now

Download our free ebook to start your journey. You’ll learn our 5-step process for transforming your Presentations: inspirational, memorable and persuasive.

It’s full of practical tips and insights.

  • Increase your confidence
  • Persuade your audience.
  • Engagement your audience.
  • Plan and structure your talks.

Download your free copy of our Five Steps to Transform your Leadership Talks ebook now.

About Benjamin Ball Associates

Benjamin Ball Associates Team

At Benjamin Ball Associates, we help clients to communicate better.

Over 12+ years the award-winning BBA team has coached thousands of senior executives globally to present powerfully. You get access to a transformational toolbox of techniques to help you become a clear, confident communicator.

We’ll help you create a powerful first impression that hooks and engages your audience immediately and we’ll transform you to deliver clearly, confidently and with impact.

Speak to Louise on +44 20 7018 0922 or email louise@benjaminball.com to find out more and discuss your upcoming speech or presentation.

Contact us to transform your public speaking skills

Contact us for a chat about how Benjamin Ball Associates can help you.

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