Present With Confidence

Leading presentation of any kind can seem very overwhelming, particularly if you are not accustomed to speaking in front of people. Leading a workshop can create another layer of anxiety because it introduces unexpected interactions that can put a presented in a position of uncertainty. I would argue that a key element of any presentation, whether a speech, a sermon, a class, or a workshop, is to present with confidence.

For instance, in a systems thinking workshop, the audience is going to have varying degrees of understanding about the subject, and some may have a higher degree of understanding than the presenter himself. This could be a point of anxiety if the presenter allows it, however, when the presenter approaches the workshop with confidence, this difficult roadblock remains simply another element of the experience.

Confidence does not come with being an expert or the smartest person in the room, rather it is having the ability to deal with ambiguity (Pollitt, 2005). As a presenter, it is important to hold to the belief that, despite the unknown risks, the unknown outcomes will be positive; in other words, the presenter must hold the confidence in their ability to succeed for the sake of themselves as well as their audience (Clay, 2010).  A workshop environment can appear to be chaos, particularly during the activity portions, or Q&A sections, but the presenter must possess confidence they can look at the chaos and find pathways through it (Pollitt, 2005).

Being an expert is not a prerequisite for being a presenter. Having the confidence necessary to walk into the opportunity and present your audience with the information they came for in a high-quality way is paramount. After that, the other elements like the after-action report, slide presentation, or videos will only increase the audience’s experience.


Clay, B. (2010). Six Characteristics of Highly Effective Change Leaders – Innovation Excellence. Retrieved from

Pollitt, D. (2005). Curtis Fine Papers aligns strategy and leadership style with business priorities: Three pillars of development for top executives. Human Resource Management International Digest, 13(6), 33–35.


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