Silence can make you uncomfortable.
Especially, when you are doing a presentation.
When you need a second to think about what to say and you’re getting no feedback from the audience, a moment of quiet can set your heart racing.
Thing is, you should embrace silence.
You can do a more confident presentation by making peace with silence.
Silence is your friend.
Here are 3 ways to use silence in your presentation to look confident and credible.
1. When you’re about to apologize
Saying “I’m sorry” is one of the worst things you can do in a presentation.
Unless there’s something to actually apologize for (like accidentally knocking the projector onto the head of the IT person under the table) you’re saying sorry to get sympathy from the audience.
It might be subconscious, but you’re apologizing so the audience will go easy on you.
And even if you’ve been handed a presentation to do at the last minute… Even if your boss is forcing you to do this despite your protestations that you’re not the best person to do this presentation… Even if you’ve had no time to get your head around the subject matter… The audience don’t care.
The audience just don’t care. So you’re apologies sound hollow and diminish your credibility.
So, here’s what to do the next time you’re tempted to say sorry (as long as there are no bruised IT people around)…
Just take a breath. Figure out what the next point is, and continue your presentation.
2. When you’re about to fill in some space
It happens to everyone.
When we’re searching for the right words we often bust out the filler words as we think.
Aaahhh. Ummmm. Ehhhhh. And so on.
Trouble is, it damages your credibility.
The audience can begin to feel you are not knowledgeable about your topic. They can stop listening to you. They can even lose trust in you completely.
Next time you’re about to spit out a filler word, stop. Replace it with a pause and you’ll maintain a more confident demeanor and keep your credibility.
3. When you’ve made a mistake
Doesn’t matter how prepared you are, mistakes happen.
If you go to pieces every time you make a mistake the audience is going to get frustrated. Partly because you’re wasting their time, and also because you’re drawing attention to something they probably didn’t notice (and don’t care about anyway).
Next time you next a mistake, pause.
Decide whether it is a mistake you need to “rectify”.
If it is something you need to fix because it changes the outcome of your presentation, just correct what you said and move on.
If you don’t need to fix it, just move on.
What do you think?
Let’s chat in the comments below.