5 Ways To Improve Your Psychological And Cognitive Functioning
Many different career paths involve delivering presentations, from individuals in corporate office jobs, to entrepreneurs looking for investment, to teaching staff. Presenting is not only a requirement in various workplaces, these days it’s quite commonplace in interview situations as well.
Presenting in any one of these situations can be daunting. And now, with lots of our roles largely operating from home, there is the added challenge of presenting online over video call.
A presentation is only as good as the preparation and planning process, and so it’s not only important to have your content ready, but to also feel mentally ready yourself. Along with checking over any PowerPoint slides and getting other resources ready, building your confidence is an essential part of the preparation.
In this week’s guest blog post, Dan Martin, shares his ten top tips for preparing for an important presentation, from building your self-esteem beforehand to maintaining your confidence on the day.
1. Listen to your favourite music
Before presenting, try listening to your favourite music to help build your confidence and increase your energy levels.
Find that one song that empowers you and lifts your spirits and play it before you present. Remember that uplifting feeling when presenting and if it helps, replay the same song in your mind to help you feel centred.
2. Wear smart clothes that you are comfortable in
Your outward appearance speaks volumes about your level of self-confidence. While it’s important to wear smart clothing for professionalism, make sure you are also comfortable in those clothes, as there is little to gain in wearing a smart outfit where you don’t feel your best.
Consider choosing either a pair of shoes that are special to you, accessories that are meaningful, or a jacket or trousers that you feel great in.
3. Take inspiration from an important person in your life
To lift your confidence, try putting yourself in the shoes of someone you love and admire. Whether that person is a friend, mentor, or a credible public figure, consider their traits you admire and ask yourself what they would do in your situation.
This technique of drawing inspiration from people who present themselves well can do wonders for boosting your own self-confidence.
4. Rehearse your presentation
One of the best ways to ensure that you’ll give a confident presentation is by practising as much as you can.
You could ask a friend to help you with mastering the pitch before it’s presented, and if you’re not able to find someone to be your practise-audience, try rehearsing your pitch in front of a mirror. Repeating this process and knowing in your heart that you've done all you can to prepare your speech will help build your confidence levels.
5. Do something you love beforehand
As well as rehearsing your presentation, take some time to do something you love and enjoy beforehand, whether it’s in the morning of your pitch or the day before.
Whether you read something inspiring, practise yoga, go out for a run or spend some time talking to loved ones. Getting yourself in the headspace of feeling good by doing something you enjoy will spark those feelings of confidence when you come to deliver your presentation.
6. Be true to yourself
Confidence comes from you knowing yourself, so ensure authenticity by staying true to your principles.
Situations may vary, though try to take the opportunity to share your values and passion whenever possible. When you believe in the content you are delivering and are fully engaged, then your confidence will naturally shine through.
7. Give compliments to others
Psychologists have found that giving compliments to others can boost your own confidence.
Competent people are rarely shy about encouraging others, so whether it’s a stranger, someone you know or the recipient of your presentation, consider complimenting them – you’ll be glad you did.
8. Prepare professional and appealing visuals
Preparing attractive visual materials to support your presentation not only compliments your pitch, they can also act as a helpful prompt.
Putting a visual presentation together is perhaps much easier nowadays with various paid and free applications available. If you’re not sure about the best way to design your presentation, there are many template backgrounds you can use through PowerPoint or Keynote, which can help you deliver a well-planned, visual presentation.
Also consider, who in your network my have the creative skills to support you?
9. Maintain eye-contact
Maintaining a level of eye contact with your audience can help you to come across more confident, trustworthy and approachable.
Admittedly, this can be more difficult when it comes to online presentations, so if you are at an online meeting where cameras are on, looking directly into the lense of the camera on your laptop or computer when possible enables the attendees to ‘feel like’ you’re making eye contact with them.
It’s also important to break up eye contact regularly, so take your time to find a rhythm that works for you.
10. Have a confident posture
Your body posture contributes to 60% of your communication, and choices like keeping your chin up and shoulders straight are subtle expressions of confidence.
For an excellent pitch, aim to straighten your posture and avoid the overuse of your arms while talking, as this can be distracting. Again, while this is slightly more difficult over a video call, you can still maintain a confident posture. Set up your laptop and camera in advance and try different standing and sitting positions until you find a comfortable, professional stance that works for you.
Building confidence is a process
In the lead up to a presentation, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. However, while it may seem like some people are naturally gifted when it comes to delivering a stand-out presentation, it’s not an easy task for anyone – no matter how well you plan and prepare.
To stay focused and give a compelling presentation, you need to be in the right state of mind. It takes time to build the mental discipline to pull off a stand-out presentation and armed with these tips, I hope you'll feel better equipped to prepare and present a powerful pitch that you feel proud of.
Remember that confidence-building is a continuous process, and it gets easier with practice.
Original source: 10 tips for building self-confidence before a presentation