Are you sabotaging your presentations, before you open your mouth? If you are, you are sucking the confidence from your mind and body when you need it most—during a sales or business presentation. If you can’t run and hide, quit your job, or cancel your presentation, find out what you CAN do to feel more confident giving a virtual or live presentation.
If you’ve made one or more of the five biggest confidence-killing mistakes, you’re not alone. But there’s something you can do to revive your confidence as a speaker. Review this list of common mistakes, identify the ones you make, and try the coaching tips listed below:
Mistake #1: Negative Self-Talk
MISTAKE #1: You’re a prisoner to your negative self-talk. You’re expecting the worst-case scenario and you send your mind into a “what if” downward spiral. Do you pump yourself “down” before a presentation by telling yourself, “I am not a good public speaker” or “My critics are just waiting for me to make a mistake”? Stop. Those limiting beliefs are killing your confidence.
COACHING TIP: Focus on what you want, not on what you don’t want! Tell yourself an empowering message that will boost your confidence. Anticipate that your audience is anxious to hear you, imagine yourself delivering your presentation with confidence, and visualize that your listeners are receptive to your message. Expect to be greeted with smiles, nods and appreciation.
Mistake #2: Bad Eye Contact
MISTAKE #2: You make little or no eye-contact with your audience. You need to watch your audience to see if they are with you or they have tuned you out. If you read your opening words (from notes or slides), you won’t connect with your audience.
COACHING TIP: Scan the audience for friendly faces and use your allies! Don’t keep your eyes on your notes or your slides, watch the camera (in virtual presentations) or the eyeballs (in live presentations). Memorize your opening words so you can see who is nodding, smiling, and listening to you. Engaged audience members are your friends. Ask them questions and keep them on your team. They will boost your confidence—but only if you make eye contact with them!
Mistake #3: No Crisis Plan
MISTAKE #3: You have no contingency plan for handling adversity. Unexpected things—like a worldwide pandemic—happen all the time. You can’t lose your cool, your focus or your confidence when problems arise.
COACHING TIP: Have a remedy for common problems! Know what to do if you forget a point, there’s a technical problem, or you get a question you can’t answer. Anticipate common problems and know how to handle them—before they happen. Be comfortable with mistakes and don’t panic. When you have strategy for how to handle problems, you can rebound quickly, and feel confident that you can any crisis.
Mistake #4: Wrong Body Signals
MISTAKE #4: You forget to use your body to emphasize your words. Don’t spend 100% of your presentation preparation time on slides and 0% on body language. How you deliver your message (facial expression, voice, gestures) is just as important as the content. Don’t forget to practice your delivery.
COACHING TIP: Use your body to project confidence! Your face, posture and eye contact send strong messages to your listeners. When you smile, you make others feel more comfortable around you. Speak slowly and clearly. Stand with your feet shoulder with apart, arms at your sides, and your weight evenly distributed on both feet. You’ll feel, look and sound more confident.
Mistake #5: Weak Word Choices
MISTAKE #5: You sound tentative and unsure of yourself. If you start a sentence with, “I think” or “maybe”, you don’t sound confident. Your audience will think you don’t know what you’re talking about.
COACHING TIP: Speak like you are an expert. Showcase your ideas by using words that reinforce your authority and influence. Make direct statements, punctuated with examples that illustrate your knowledge and experience. Inspire confidence, trust and respect with each word you choose to speak.
For more ways you can boost your confidence as a speaker, schedule a free strategy session with Better Speaking Skills Coach Rosalyn Porter at https://betterspeakingskills.us/contact/