How To Increase Confidence When Presenting

Giving an oral report or a presentation can be stressful. It’s even more stressful when you need to give it in a language that you aren’t 100% comfortable with. Here are some tips to help you with your formal business English and your confidence when speaking in front of an audience.

Know and practice the transition words you will use.

Transition words and phrases will make you talk smooth and structured. In turn, you feel more comfortable. You can always use one of them at any time if you become unfocused or lose your train of thought. They will help steer you in the right direction again.

  • Here are some good ones:
  • Consequently, …
  • As you can see, …
  • Because of this, …
  • Therefore, …
  • I’d like to move on to …
  • Let’s now discuss …
  • It’s also important to note …
  • To recap, …
  • Additionally, …
  • So …
  • Another key point/idea is …

There are many more of these, but just choose a few to practice so you can use them to make your presentation more professional and increase your overall confidence.

Have a clear and obvious ending statement.

This one is simple. The best way to feel you have given a solid presentation is to end well. Think of and memorize the last two or three sentences of your speech. This way, at the end you won’t leave with an awkward, ‘That’s all.’ Have the last thing you say be a clear closure so that your audience isn’t unsure if you are done.

Keep an index card for notes.

There is absolutely no reason why you can’t have an index card or paper in your hand as you speak. Do not be embarrassed about it if no one else is doing it or has done it. It will provide support and make your talk better. Make some simple notes to remind you what you want to say. Just remember not to read and make eye contact! The point of this is for support only.

Know that it won’t be perfect.

Even native speakers of English have a hard time with speaking in front of other people. It is challenging. If you go in knowing that it won’t be perfect, then it should help you to relax. Just try your best (by practising beforehand!) and once it is over, it’s over. Move on and know you’ll do even better next time!

About the Author

Yvette Smith is an English teacher currently in Vietnam. She has taught in China and Mexico as well. She enjoys writing about the ESL field and thinks everyone should take the chance to travel abroad at least once in their lives.

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