how to develop confidence for presentations

posted by Rob Stewart Jun 09, 2020

Confidence is important to present effectively. Would you feel confident if someone said: “And now we’re going to have a short presentation from (YOU) about the latest project,” and everyone looks at you as you stand up and move to the front of the room? The good news is that you don’t have to be a ‘natural’ to give a good presentation. Effective preparation will give you the confidence to do a good job. So what is effective preparation? 

If you are new to presenting, a good strategy is to get used to talking out loud by practising with a number of short 60 second presentations. The reason for this is that you can easily hold the whole amount of content in your head, and see how a small amount of simple information can turn into a presentation. 

You can choose something like a magazine style article, such as a one or two page cinema film review. From reading the article, to planning the presentation, to talking out loud should only take half an hour of your time. Practising at least five different short presentations like this will really develop your confidence before approaching the real thing. 

To begin, read the article. Create a description of the film as an introduction. Next, find the three main things that stand out about this particular film. Then create a summary, the main good points and the main bad points. Finally create a conclusion and recommendation of who might enjoy the film, and who won’t. Turn your notes into bullet points to prompt you. They should be meaningful but short, just enough to remind you of all the key themes. 

From these bullet points you can structure your presentation like this: 

  • Introduction – 20 seconds 
  • Three main features – 30 seconds 
  • Summary recommendation – 10 seconds 


This will seem really short, but it is surprising how much information you can pack into a minute. Write down the sections on one side of A4. Now put the bullet points of what you want to say into each of the sections. 

When you have written it out, check it all makes sense and you know exactly what each of your bullet points refers to. With your prompt sheet complete, the important bit is say your presentation out loud. Just reading it in your head is not good enough practice. 

Try presenting to the dog or the cat, or record it on your phone to start with, then try a real person. You have to say it all out loud from beginning to end, and if you get lost then start again. If you don’t say all of it out loud, you will tend to kind to yourself by ignoring stumbles and faults. The flow of how you join it all together is as important as the content of your presentation. 

Practice doing a few of these until you are quick at finding the main points and themes to make notes, have a good idea what 60 seconds of content looks and sounds  like, and you are comfortable saying it all out loud. By practising this a few times you should feel much more confident about creating content, and more comfortable saying it all out loud.