I was in King’s Cross yesterday with my dog and he was drawn immediately to a fellow passenger. This man was super confident with Sully and there was a reason — he was a dog groomer! Sully could smell his confidence.
When it comes to presenting, your audience can smell it too, or a lack of it. Confidence is like currency: you make deposits and withdrawals every time you present. If someone smiles and leans in it’s like they’ve paid £1,000 into your bank account and you spend it with joy. But if the cameras are off and people look bored to tears it’s as if they have withdrawn £10,000.
So how do you remain topped up when everything else, it seems, is seeking to make huge withdrawals from you? You can’t control other people but you can control yourself. Here are five ways to keep the currency of confidence topped up.
- You can either start every meeting sitting down or standing up. Covid has given us that. So choose to stand up in the meeting. It will keep you alert and confident in your own skin.
- Now practice your presentation standing up. Sitting down is a natural energy sapper, a withdrawal from your confidence account. But if you stand up and speak you are saying to yourself and your audience ‘I am here. I am confident’.
- As you are presenting, Imagine your slides as a series of scenes in a movie. Each scene has a killer line in it — a headline, something that shines bright. Practise speaking the headline out loud and emphasised.
- Find your middle slide and practise speaking it as if you are talking to Joan, a slightly deaf old lady. Over-pronounce every word, use body language to demonstrate the words — whatever you need to do to make Joan hear. When you are presenting this slide your brain will remember and you will be given an instant energy boost.
- As you get towards the end, increase the pace and intensity, do not decrease. Find a crescendo moment in your last slide and speak 10% louder. It is the difference between a wild, bumpy landing on a plane and a smooth landing. You want your audience to get on this plane again.
If you do these five things in your next presentation you will experience the fruit and see confidence blossom before your very eyes. I dare you — do it. Then let me know how it went.