From board rooms to that first time you had to give a book report, presentations are a vehicle for disseminating knowledge. You must come prepared with teachable moments to share and command the room. But before you lead your colleagues to success with cutting-edge insights, you have to work on your presentation - not just the slideshow, but also how you position yourself in front of your audience.
As memories of a churning stomach ahead of an eighth grade book report may recall, public speaking creates anxiety in even the most seasoned professionals. This prevalence is why Mark Twain is quoted as saying, "There are two types of speakers: Those who get nervous and those who are liars." The jitters get to us all. In fact, the apprehension around public speaking is so prevalent that it has a phobia called glossophobia.
Plus, these nerves show. Confidence - or lack thereof - is evident from how much you smile to whether you maintain eye contact. So how do you let your peers know you own the room and lead the discussion with authority?
Talk with your body
Your slideshow will have data. You will tell your audience how that data informs best practices. Yet neither of these steps matter if your body implies you're not invested in the knowledge you share. Body language is part of nonverbal communication, so a slouched and static stance inhibits engagement. Even hand gestures speak to your audience. The position called "holding the ball," for example, is all about showing off your command and dominance as the authority in the room. Simply cup your hands like you have a basketball while you talk. As for your posture, a shoulder-width stance implies you control the situation.
"Even hand gestures speak to your audience."
Watch and learn
The people listening to your insights aren't the only ones who glean knowledge from your presentation. You can improve future public speaking opportunities by paying attention to how you perform in each engagement. Going over your talking points in the mirror or with a friend or family member is essential. This advice may seem obvious, but the underpinning is you chip away at nervousness and poor body language with each trial run. Consider recording one of your presentations so you can analyze your posture, eye contact, and more with a play-by-play.
Carry confidence every day
Don't wait until five minutes before show time to get pumped for your presentation. Think about how you can add a little swagger into every moment. Whether you're grabbing coffee or updating colleagues about a new procedure, let your confidence lead.
ProSolutions Training offers online training courses to help you grow as a professional in early education and humans services. Contact us today to learn more about our course catalog.