Four Steps to Presenting with Confidence

Amy Wilkinson

For a long time, I thought confidence was a personality trait – you either have it, or you don’t. When I started out in my career, I was quite shy. The idea of standing in front of a room of people would literally bring me out in hives (it still does sometimes, more on that later!) but probably 5 years later, there I was presenting to some of the UK’s biggest retailers, confidently pitching new products and making a success of it.

What changed? Did I have a personality transplant? Nope, but I did have a lot more practice. Because that’s the thing, confidence is actually a skill that can be practiced and mastered. Sure, some people are naturally more confident, but it doesn’t mean the rest of us don’t have a chance at it.

Here are some of the things that work for me, to help me feel more confident presenting, in meetings or when I am thrown into something new, that could help you too…

Being prepared

Part of feeling confident for me, is feeling that I have prepared well. The reality being that as humans we hate feeling out of control, so when we go into a meeting that we can’t control the outcome of, that can feel uncomfortable. You can’t prepare for everything but do think about your audience and what questions may come up and pre-align with others on how you will answer them.

Practice

Practice what you’re going to say – out loud! In my Ready Meals marketing days, I was part of a high performing team – one of our key strengths? We always role played and practiced our presentations when going into a retailer. This ironed out excessive “erm’s” and stumbling over words and helped with our overall confidence. We “nailed” many a presentation due to our collective confidence. 

Create some calm

We commonly talk about the “Fight or Flight” response but when it comes to presentations many of us have experienced the “Freeze” response. Before a big presentation, calm your nervous system by going for a walk, taking some deep breaths or whatever works for you

Wear a scarf (well, it doesn’t have to be a scarf)

This one may seem a bit random – however let me tell you why. No matter how practiced and prepared I am; no matter how many years I have been presenting; my body still reacts to the pressure of presenting to a new or a large audience. No matter what I do, how I try to control it, my skin goes blotchy. So, I wear a scarf! It hides the blotches that come up on my neck and now forms part of my confidence toolkit. 

This isn’t just about covering up blotchy skin though. If “power dressing” or certain clothing helps you feel more confident, then wear it! My favourite ever example of this is a colleague of mine who has “Positive Pants” – a special set of underwear that she wears for really important presentations when she needs a boost. Her mind associates her positive pants with successfully nailing a presentation, so she either wears those pants or imagines she’s wearing those pants to give herself a boost.

As ever, it is finding what works for you. When I work with clients on helping them find inner confidence, we go deep into understanding what helps boost their own confidence and what knocks it down. We then work out how to do more of the former and less of the latter! If you would like help finding and developing your confidence, drop me a message at amy@amywilkinsoncoaching.co.uk

Share the Post:

Related Posts

WIFF @ LAMMA –

Empowering Voices: Women in Food and Farming Forge Paths of Success In a vibrant assembly that brought together pioneering women

Read More