One of the things many of us introverts fear the absolute most is having to hold presentations in front of other people. Even worse: in front of a bunch of classmates or co-workers, you don’t really like nor are friends with. Unfortunately, having to hold presentations is a pretty usual thing nowadays… Yet, as something so common in schools and universities, our education system fails at teaching us how to actually become good at it.
Especially for us introverts – it’s basically one of the worst situations. We usually dislike putting ourselves into the spotlight anyway – but when it happens against our will (like most of the time), it’s even more of a struggle. But because presenting subjects and ideas became such a normal thing everywhere, there is literally no way to escape it. But there is also a silver lining: with practice (and a couple of tips) it can get easier for all of us!
Just to give you an idea about my experience: I used to really hate holding presentations. It wasn’t something I looked forward to, nor did I liked the idea of having to stand in front of a whole classroom full of people to talk about something I was fairly not interested in. Even thinking about it days prior the presentation day made me experience extreme nervousness and anxiety. It got worse and worse with every day and would even trigger heavy migraine attacks! Not so much of a good experience, huh?
But – by using a couple of tips and tricks, holding presentations became not so much of a big deal for me anymore. I still don’t like it, but at least it’s not anymore as nerve-wrecking as it used to be. And I hope by sharing them with you today will help to just as much!
Practice what you’ll be saying
This might be an obvious one to you, but it’s actually something that is often overlooked. Especially if you’re someone who dislikes walking the extra mile for something you hate doing anyway – this can be a tough one. But don’t underestimate how much this extra bit of effort can actually affect your presentation! Practicing the way you want to put your explanations into words is such a powerful and easy way to raise your confidence and your over-all comfortableness in the situation. It gives you a sense of security, which is great when you’re becoming nervous (or anxious) and helps you to stay present and focused at the moment. So, take your notes and your PowerPoint presentation and practice exactly what you’re going to say on your presentation day. Maybe even stand in front of a mirror while practicing your presentation to check your posture and your body language. Repeat this as many times as possible. I promise you, this will help you feel a lot more relaxed during your presentation, which ultimately will always raise your confidence!
Choose topics you’re actually interested in
I was in 9th grade when I noticed how much better I felt during a presentation when I was given the possibility to talk about something I genuinely enjoyed talking about. The reasoning behind that is simple: the more you’re interested in something the more you look forward to talking about it – even in front of other people. Apart from that, it will also raise your motivation for doing all the research on the topic you’ll be talking about and make you feel a lot less uncomfortable. Because of that, whenever I had the chance, instead of accepting the presentation topics my teachers had assigned me to, I would go over to the teacher’s desk and suggest a different one for me. And suddenly thinking about the presentation wasn’t as scary to me anymore!
Positive feelings towards your presentation = more motivation = more confidence! It can be that easy!
Don’t make it too complicated
I’m not too bad at remembering things, but whenever I’m in a situation that makes me nervous or anxious, my memory is the worst. As you might be guessing already – this always messed up my presentation performance. Soon I noticed: The more complicated my explanations were getting, the higher was the chance that I was completely losing track of what I was saying. So, instead of appearing all smart and intelligent, I was sure I was rather making a fool out of myself.
Don’t think that you have to always sound like a professor. As a matter of fact, authenticity is far more important during holding presentations than trying to appear all professional. Make your explanations as short and clear as possible! This way, not only will your audience have no problem understanding the context of what you are saying. It will also help you stay concentrated and focused and your confidence will benefit from this as well.
and lastly ….
Bring your lucky charms!
They are such a great way to remind yourself of your abilities, and they also help you feel more secure during your presentation. The best thing is, your lucky charm can be anything and everything. As long as it means something to you (!) it will positively affect your performance and help you be more confident and comfortable in the situation. It doesn’t have to be fancy jewelry or anything expensive. It can even be a small figure you leave in your pockets during the whole presentation. As long as you bring something meaningful for you with you – it will do its magic!
These are all my most valuable tips for feeling and appearing more confident when having to hold presentations in school or university as an introvert!
I hope you find them helpful! But not forget, practice is everything. If you have any other tips or personal experience you want to share, feel free to write a comment or contact me! 🙂