Marketing

Public Speaking Tutorial: How to Present Your Ideas Confidently

Discover quick tips on body language, warm-ups, and breathing techniques to stay relaxed and present ideas successfully

As a shy child, Dasha Dollar-Smirnova (@dasha_dollar_smirnova) found drama and acting classes gave her confidence to speak in front of people. Moving into an advertising career, she used her public speaking skills to pitch to new clients and grow a small business into one of the UK’s fastest-growing advertising agencies. Now, she empowers others through public speaking workshops.

So, if you're feeling nervous about an upcoming presentation or interview, watch this tutorial to hear Dasha’s top tips on keeping your cool and ensuring you deliver an effective message.

1. Know your content inside-out

When you give a presentation, there are things you can and can't control: and that's okay! Remember that one thing you can always control is your content. Try to learn it inside-out, so that you can rely on your memory to deliver the information to a crowd, without feeling the worry of forgetting it.

Memorize as much of your speech as possible, so you feel confident whatever else happens.
Memorize as much of your speech as possible, so you feel confident whatever else happens.

2. Stand up straight

Most of us tend to stoop in our posture when we feel nervous. Instead of shrinking and making ourselves smaller, we should stand straight to appear confident and in-control. We might be a nervous wreck on the inside, but if we open our posture and hold our heads high, our audience will trust and listen to us.

Stand tall, roll your shoulders back, and hold your head high to appear more confident and authoritative.
Stand tall, roll your shoulders back, and hold your head high to appear more confident and authoritative.

3. Look at your audience

Looking your audience in the eye translates to delivering your content with confidence. By engaging with the crowd, you’re adding a personal element to your presentation and creating a friendly dynamic in the room. One trick for this that Dasha offers is to look in the centre of someone’s eyebrows. This option doesn’t feel as intense for you, but for them, gives the illusion that you're making perfect eye contact as you talk.

Look at your audience to hold their attention.
Look at your audience to hold their attention.

4. Breathe deeply

When we take shallow breaths, we send a message to our brain that we are panicked or anxious. Breathing deeply instead will help us to calm down and feel more in control. Dasha recommends focusing on deep belly breaths to create a sense of calm. This means filling your lungs up fully, allowing your stomach to expand outwards while doing so.

Breathe deeply using your stomach, rather than your chest.
Breathe deeply using your stomach, rather than your chest.

5. Diction and clear speech

It’s important to pronounce your words correctly and use good diction (the shape your mouth makes when you speak) if you want to come across confidently when public speaking. Dasha recommends warming up before you begin talking with some tongue twisters like “she sells seashells on the seashore.” Start off over-pronouncing each word, then repeat it faster and faster to warm up effectively.

Warm up for perfect diction.
Warm up for perfect diction.

Focus on what went well

Finally, Dasha offers a pep talk on cutting yourself some slack. Mistakes are what make us human, so if you forget what you were going to say, can’t find the right slide, or trip over your words; forgive yourself. When you reflect on your presentation, focus on what you did well, and try to take that forwards with you, letting go of what went wrong.

Boost your communication skills further with these resources

1. Get even more tips on overcoming the fear of presentations, with coach Kyoko Takeyama.

2. Check out these five top courses dedicated to public speaking.

3. Tough client meetings coming up? Read these tips on maintaining a positive business relationship.

4. Finally, remember to check out Dasha's full courses on finding your unique voice and public speaking for business.

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