How can I increase my confidence to speak in front of people?

Question:

How can I increase my confidence to speak in front of people?

Answer:

It is natural to be nervous about speaking in public. Here are a few hints: 

  • Prepare your presentation carefully. The more prepared you feel, the more confident you will be. 
  • Practice a number of times to check your timing, your visual aids, your pronunciation and your body language. Practice alone in front a mirror, then with a friend. You could ask a friend to video you so that you can see for yourself whether you need to improve anything.
  • Take a number of deep, calming breaths as you wait to present. 
  • When you begin, pause and look around the room, and smile. Remember, it is very likely that your audience is also nervous about presenting, and wishes you well. 
  • Don't rush through your presentation. Hurrying can increase your nerves. 

Write out your presentation beforehand in full if you wish, but then put it into short notes, preferably in bullet point format, on small cards that can fit in the palm of your hand.

If you’re giving a group presentation, make sure you practise together as a group several times beforehand.

Check out the StudyWISE under oral presentations for more information. Learning Skills also runs workshops on Oral Presentations. 

Another resource is lynda.com, a video-based learning platform available free to Macquarie Students. This playlist shows some useful Lynda courses on speaking in public and presenting.