To ask what to do to gain confidence in presenting to people at work

(31 Posts)
crepeyneck Sun 11-Oct-15 23:04:43

With no PowerPoint just me talking to a potentially critical audience. Any classes or tutors in London area?

LoveAnchor Sun 11-Oct-15 23:13:16

Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.

phoolani Sun 11-Oct-15 23:24:11

I have a friend who does presentation training. I feel a bit weird about mentioning her on here (not quite sure why!) but pm me if you want (if you can, not sure how that works either!) if you want more details. She's quite expensive but gets rave feedback.

5Foot5 Sun 11-Oct-15 23:28:42

Do you have a DH, DP or good and trusted friend who you can rehearse with and who you can trust to offer constructive criticism?

BackforGood Sun 11-Oct-15 23:32:57

I agree with LoveAnchor - it really is about practice.

You need to be confident in the subject matter.
You need to know exactly what you want to get across.
You need to be confident that what you are saying fills the time slot you've been given (finishing in half the time is as bad as not getting all done in your allocated time)
You need to know the material well enough that you are speaking to the audience / making eye contact and not reading from a sheet of paper... a few key words or headings on cards as prompts.
Practice in front of a mirror.
Practice in front of a trusted friend or family member, and ask them to be really honest.
Speak a little bit more slowly than you think you need to.
Crucially though, the more times you do it, the easier it becomes.

HarrietVane99 Sun 11-Oct-15 23:38:47

It's about projecting an image of confidence, even if you don't feel like it inside. Know your material inside out, and always know more than you include in the presentation. Stand tall, head up, shoulders back. Make eye contact with the audience. Practice projecting your voice so you can be heard at the back of the room. Don't speak too fast and don't be afraid to pause, take a breath, allow your audience a moment to absorb what you're saying.

ModenaMan Sun 11-Oct-15 23:46:59

What Harriet said.
Plus if there is a Q&A, try and think of what questions you would ask the speaker on the subject, might give you a heads up on potential questions, but not always full proofblush. You can always preface an answer with " That's a real good question " to give you some thinking time too.

Mistigri Mon 12-Oct-15 06:23:18

I agree about practice and knowing your stuff.

However, if you lack confidence and/ or experience at this then some training sounds like a good idea to me. Presenting well is a very "trainable" skill - in the sense that it's not a difficult thing to do, but it doesn't come naturally to a lot of people. I'm a confident presenter but I still found media training helpful.

Ideally your employer should provide training but if not, then consider paying for it yourself - see it as a career investment.

PushAPushPop Mon 12-Oct-15 06:55:30

I agree with harriet ... Fake it!

I am not a confident person at all; I have a naturally quiet voice and stumble over words, and I am generally a bit awkward.

However, I managed to complete my teaching degree (despite not going into teaching eventually, but that was for unrelated reasons), and later on becoming a PA which involved monthly presentations to our big bosses.

I pretended to be a confident, loud-voiced person. Nobody could have know I wasn't! grin

Emochild Mon 12-Oct-15 07:08:01

Film yourself practising then watch it back with a critical eye

I found it really cringey at first but it really helped

devmum Mon 12-Oct-15 08:29:40

If you're in London my work sent me to presentation training run by Impact Factory, which was really helpful. No idea how much it cost tho...

The key things I found were an unbelievable amount of practice and they also filmed us. Rather than focusing on the stuff we did wrong, it was good to see that the things we thought were glaring errors weren't at all obvious.

For instance, I tended to talk too fast, and feel like I was running out of air and hyperventilating. Non of this was obvious on the film, so once I realised that no one could tell it was easier to calm down.

A lot of it was about focusing on the positives, we each had to say something good about each person's presentation. Amazingly I was complemented on my accent, so if you can't afford the course I suggest moving to Manchester and watching a lot of Coronation St. ;)

NorksAreMessy Mon 12-Oct-15 08:35:36

A monumental amount of preparation will make you feel more confident. Really truly knowing what you are talking about and why you are there and why they should be listening to you.
You should keep your 'audience's attention better WITHOUT PowerPoint. I know I stop listening as soon as the PP comes out.
Good luck

JessieMcJessie Mon 12-Oct-15 08:40:41

One thing to do is to lengthen your pauses. Count to 3 in between each sentence. Shorten your sentences too. This will feel unnatural but works very well for listeners. Have a listen to a Barack Obama speech, he is a master of this technique. The point is that the audience needs a little more time than you think to digest each point. Also, try to paint a picture by including stories or anecdotes (don't have to be funny) as the brain likes to create images, all the more important if you won't have slides.
These are things I was taught on a course run by a former TV presenter. Good luck!

JessieMcJessie Mon 12-Oct-15 08:41:44

Also read the book "Talk like TED".

whois Mon 12-Oct-15 08:45:51

I've had some internal training at work whic really helped - had ourselves videoed which was great to see that he's, you could still slow down a bit.

Def a trainable skill, but I can't advise on any external training courses.

As for the confidence, I find the 'fake it till you make it' approach works for me. Standing tall and confident even before you go in, big smile, breath to help calm, and remember no one WANTS you to fail. People r really want you to do well and will be forgiving if you loose your thread or something. Also, if you do loose your thread then it's highly likely no one will know unless you make a deal out of it. They don't know what you were planning on saying :-)

HarrietVane99 Mon 12-Oct-15 09:49:07

I agree about including anecdotes to illustrate your points. People will remember those when they won't remember a lot of statistics. Also, if you look like over running, you can cut them without losing the thread of your talk.

If you'll be giving out handouts, get them photocopied the day before. If you'll be using a flipchart or whiteboard, take your own pens or markers - preferably black with a thick point. Dress at least as formally as your audience, preferably slightly more so. Jacket rather than cardigan, for example. It will help to give you an air of authority.

SekhmetLioness Mon 12-Oct-15 17:34:21

Go and do some improv classes! Great fun, good for getting comfortable in front of an audience and learning to think on your feet.

I had the same issue at work and after a few classes felt much happier presenting. I was nervous about looking silly in the classes, but we played lots of 'Whose Line is it Anyway' style games and it was a very safe and supportive environment with a wide range of people.

Lots of options for classes in London, but I can recommend 'The Maydays'. Good luck!

SevenOfNineTrue Mon 12-Oct-15 18:05:52

At the end of each sentence breathe and pause slightly. When most of us are nervous, we speak quickly and the message can get garbled and lost.

You don't need to pay for help, just ask some trusted work colleagues to listen and watch you do a run through and ask for constructive criticism.

Practice until you are word perfect but, just in case, keep some cards with some bullet points so you do not forget any key topics.

Watch your body languages and remember to look around at the faces of those in the room to include everyone.

Don't worry about people's facial expressions. It is normal for people not to smile etc when listening to a presentation. Do not take that as a sign of boredom or disinterest.

Remember, that even if you are very nervous, most people will not know that.

Good luck.

missymayhemsmum Mon 12-Oct-15 19:20:53

Don't think of it as presenting, think of it as performing. Make sure you know your stuff and what you want to get over, then act your way into pretending to be a confident high energy person saying it. Project your voice, and if you can, get a friendly person to stand towards the back of the room, and direct your presentation to them.
Have notes to refer to, give out information/ handouts with the detail.

ballerinabelle Mon 12-Oct-15 22:27:35

Practice and remember if you fuck up it's not the end of the world grin

ballerinabelle Mon 12-Oct-15 22:29:00

I should add that I have to present as part of my day to day job. Presumably nobody lives or dies on the bs I your presenting so take it in your stride and enjoy the bits that go well and accept the bits that don't go so well smile good luck op flowers

ballerinabelle Mon 12-Oct-15 22:29:59

Oh goodness that was meant to say "on the back of your presenting" not BS blush

overthemill Mon 12-Oct-15 22:30:55

I second Impact Factory for professional training ( I did another of theirs which was excellent). And practice practice practice. I would sooner shave my head than go to a party where I know no one but I can stand up in front of 150 people and give a presentation about 'my ' subject. It really is practice. Look at ted talks stuff and try to find a course but practice in front of a critical but constructive friend

Onthepigsback Mon 12-Oct-15 23:41:35

Practice the actual presentation, in full, until it comes easily. Make sure you have your points clear in your head and in order. Then on the day, as long as the points come out in order, you will have a nice relaxed presentation around them.

EternalDalmatian Tue 13-Oct-15 00:35:48

Lots of good suggestions here.

The main thing will always be practice though. I wanted to crawl up my own arse the first time I had to present to a room full of people and worked myself up into a right state. The second time, just a vague feeling of creeping dread. Now it makes no difference to me if it's a 1:1 chat or a presentation to 100.

It does get easier and easier every time op...just practice loads and know your stuff.

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