The New York Times
When you are presenting or speaking in front of an audience, you’re being judged on your confidence and competence, not just your content, and the way you appear and sound matters.
Here are five tips to look and sound like a leader when you’re presenting:
1. DRESS BETTER THAN ANYONE ELSE IN THE ROOM:
Your clothes need to be appropriate for the situation, but aim to be slightly more polished than the rest. Update your wardrobe once or twice a year, wear clothes that fit your body type, choose colors that compliment your skin or hair color, and avoid worn or scuffed shoes.
2. PACE YOUR DELIVERY:
If you’re giving a webinar or online presentation where your audience only hears your voice, it's good to keep your pace at 150 words a minute. Speaking too fast will harm your credibility.
3. REPLACE LONG WORDS WITH SHORT ONES:
If you want to sound smart, use simple words. Long, convoluted sentences and jargon don’t make you sound smart at all — just the opposite. You gain credibility and respect when you’re able to articulate complex ideas in simple language.
4. REHEARSE UNDER STRESS:
Rehearse under conditions similar to those you’re likely to encounter during the actual event. Before an important presentation, consider gathering a few people to watch a dress rehearsal, even if it’s just in your living room.
5. MAINTAIN AN OPEN POSTURE:
Don’t keep your hands in your pockets. Use hand gestures that are natural and authentic and adopt an “open posture,” with two hands, palms facing up, above the waist.
(Adapted from “5 Ways to Project Confidence in Front of an Audience” at HBR.org.)