Radical confidence, a belief in possibility, is a requirement for success. Unlike hubris that derives from an inflated ego and a presumption of entitlement, real confidence comes from being in the trenches and doing the work. The more often you practice and deliver a presentation, for example, the more comfortable and polished you will become.
Here are my top 10 tips to maximize your practice time before your next presentation:
1) Visualize your success. Take a few moments to close your eyes and mentally see yourself making a powerful, persuasive presentation and getting the results you want. Hear yourself saying the actual words you will use.
2) Talk positively to yourself. Give yourself a pep talk. Use affirmations, positive statements written in the present tense, and repeat them often.
3) Act as if . . . Ask yourself how a powerful speaker you respect would prepare and present your proposal. Imagine what that person would do and begin to apply those same techniques to your presentation.
4) Remember what you bring to your audience and how they will benefit from your presentation.
5) Run through your presentation from beginning to end without stopping the first time through. Refer to your outline. Then practice each part separately, i.e. the opening, the body, the closing.
6) Audio or videotape yourself to hear how your voice comes across. What impression of yourself do you get? Are you creating the impression you want? What’s the level of energy you see and hear in your voice?
7) Practice delivering your speech to a friend. Ask a friend who can coach you and give you effective feedback.
8) Practice your delivery in front of a mirror to observe your facial expressions and use of gestures.
9) Time your presentation. Keep it short, simple and to the point. Allow time for audience involvement.
10) Avoid memorizing your presentation. Practice so often that by the time you speak, you look prepared, but able to speak extemporaneously.
The more often you practice your presentation using these 10 tips, the more comfortable you will become speaking in front of a live audience.