Confident public speaking puts the audience at ease and creates a good environment for them to absorb the information you present. The speaker who lacks confidence can make an audience feel sorry for them so the audience ends up concentrating on the speaker rather than the message.
In view of this, a professional image is a very important ingredient in confident public speaking. Use the five points below to ensure your image enhances rather than detracts from your presentation:
Spend some time on your personal appearance before making a presentation.
- Have you dressed appropriately for the audience you are addressing?
- Is your clothing clean?
- Is your hair properly groomed?
- Are your hands and fingernails clean and well kept?
Paying attention to these areas will convey a professional image, give you credibility, and make you feel confident in public speaking.
In addition to paying attention to your personal appearance, also give thought to your equipment.
Arriving in front of the audience with notes on folded up pieces of paper looks amateur.
Make sure your notes are neatly kept in a binder or plastic folder and well arranged so you don’t spend time fumbling for the page you want.
Ensure you have good visual contact with the audience, take a few seconds to make sure your notes are positioned correctly on the speaker’s stand.
You don’t want them at such a distance that you have to drop your head to look down.
If possible, keep them at an angle that allows you to just glance at them without moving your head so you can keep good eye contact with the audience.
Stand Up Straight
Stand erect so the speech organs in your body can function properly. Slouching leads to poor enunciation and muffling sounds with the audience straining to catch what is said.
Handle Interruptions Confidently
What if members of the audience keep interrupting you, or make loud comments on what you are saying? Anyone who is not confident in public speaking can be thrown by these situations or at least look awkward and ill-prepared.
On the other hand, here is an opportunity to demonstrate your professionalism and keep control of yourself, your audience and the situation. Here are two suggestions:
State in a very kind, non-aggressive tone the following:
You appreciate members of the audience may have other viewpoints or concerns. There will be an opportunity at the end of the discussion to hear them, either through a question and answer session after the main presentation, or by being on hand to speak personally to anyone with a query.
Alternatively, you may remind the audience there is a time constraint, and as you have some very important information to convey it will be necessary to take comments and questions later, after the main presentation is finished.
Almost every public speaker feels nervous at some time. Some never conquer their nervousness completely. Nevertheless, you do not need to betray your nervous feelings to your audience.
By paying careful attention to your image using the five points above, you will make a positive impact on your audience and within yourself feel confident at public speaking engagements.