5 Tips for Presenting with Confidence in STEM

5 Tips for Presenting with Confidence

Do you fear presenting? Whether getting on stage or giving a presentation at work? If so I’ve got your back with 5 essential presenting tips!

Tip 1 – Prepare, prepare prepare! – Preparation is absolutely essential. You need to have written your presentation and practiced it A LOT. Not just a couple of time, but enough that it’s in your subconscious and you feel relaxed about what you’re going to say. I usually practice my presentations in talks in various situations e.g. whilst running, cooking and to various family audiences. This helps to feel even more confident with what you’re saying because you’ve practiced with various distractions. (I even ask my brother to start talking on his phone or heckling to try and put me off – something he enjoys a lot! Haha)

Tip 2 – Warm up – During talks you’re using your mouth, voice and body which is why warming up is key. Try some vocal warmups and stretching. There’s a reason why mouth massages have become a thing in the celebrity world!

Tip 3 – Learn as much as you can about your audience – your talk has nothing to do with you and everything to do with your audience. If you want people to engage and feel interested then you need to think about THEM. Why are they there? How old are they? What do they need from your talk? Are they looking to be inspired, motivated, enthused or anything else? How would you want to feel if you were sitting in that audience?

Tip 4 – focus on helping ONE person – speaking in front of a group of people can be daunting and you may put pressure on yourself to engage everyone in the room. The truth is not everyone will connect with you or you’re talk and that’s okay! Instead, focus on thinking about the ONE person in the room you will impact (because there’ll always be one). If you can help just one person then you’ve done your job. Your talk has the power to change someone’s life – you don’t need to change EVERYONE’s life – one person is enough.  (By the way, this technique means you’ll end up engaging with far more than just one person, but it helps to take the pressure off).

Tip 5 – Have a conversation with your audience – have you experienced death by powerpoint or lectures where you’re talked at? Boring right!? The key thing to keeping your audience engaged is by having a conversation. I don’t mean stopping midway through and asking people how their days going, I mean finding ways to interact. This could be asking a question and putting hands up or even using an interactive app such as Polldaddy.  It can be the difference between a fun engaging talk and one where people are daydreaming about lunch!

Bonus tip! This final tip is so important and that’s to just go for it. Being confident in presenting takes time and practice, so the best way to learn is to throw yourself into challenges. You don’t need to be perfect (or anywhere close to perfect!). The more you practice presenting the more you realise it’s absolutely fine to mess up.

If you’d like more presenting advise then my conversation with Yasmin Ali, award winning engineer and presenter will certainly help!

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