Addressing a group of strangers requires confidence more than any other virtue. However, this confidence is not natural to everyone. Many people hone their public speaking skills over the years to acquire the confidence needed to create an impact over a crowd. When you are confident about yourself and your work, people are attracted to engage in your presentation.
Even if you lack the confidence that it takes to run your idea through a room full of strangers, here are few simple ways that can help you acquire it.
1. Be gentle with yourself.
Often in public settings, we put too much pressure on ourselves. This pressure arises out of the fear of public judgment. However, you should know that the audience is not as much concerned about you as you are about yourself. The audience perceives you as just another speaker and is not going to hold on to your mistakes. So ensure that you are not too tough on yourself in such situations.
2. Master your subject
We've heard this time and again that "Little knowledge is a dangerous thing." Your knowledge reflects your confidence. When you have a deep understanding of the topic, confidence comes naturally. This knowledge drives away the fear of being incorrect, leaving loopholes, or not answering when met with counter questions. This is a significant aspect that people often overlook.
3. Let your body speak
Your body language is a powerful tool, especially when you are in a public setting. Your body language does the talking way before your words do. Your personality radiates in how you walk, sit, stand, and carry yourself as a whole. Your postures and gestures speak a lot about you. Therefore, you must keep a check on what you are displaying. Make sure that your body speaks the language of zeal and confidence.
4. Make use of props
Props help a great deal in elevating your presentation. Using props like charts, tables and slides will benefit your audience in understanding your content better. Too many words will become overwhelming and monotonous for the audience. Visual content helps in breaking the monotony. This keeps the audience interested. Further, the use of props makes your presentation appear more professional.
5. Study your audience
When you are familiar with the audience that you are engaging, confidence comes easier. Being familiar doesn't mean knowing them personally. It is about being aware of the age group, common interests, and aspects that bind them together. The content and the delivery of your presentation should adjust depending on the audience. Different things work for other groups, and you eventually understand that with experience.
6. Radiate Positivity
You attract the vibe that you radiate. When you have a positive outlook, it also reflects in your voice and gestures. You can achieve this by being calm in the situations that make you prone to being anxious. Deep breathing and positive affirmations are a few ways that can help you with anxiety. People also take away a positive image of you if you think about yourself in that manner.
7. Shift the pressure
Interacting with the audience is the best way to build your confidence and gain the audience's confidence. Make your presentation a conversation, and things would fall in place themselves. Ask questions that stimulate conversation with the audience. This will allow you to catch a breath while people are busy talking and discussing.
8. Display presence of mind
Not everything can be planned ahead of time. However, there are certain things that you need to take care of while you are in the moment. You should be conscious about your surroundings and be alert enough to act at the moment. Keeping your eyes and ear open might help you in the most unexpected ways.
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