Ask Esther…Big scary senior people zap my confidence

Ask Esther

Esther Stanhope is an international confidence speaker and communications expert.

A former BBC producer she’s rubbed shoulders with the likes of Madonna, George Clooney, and many global leaders.

She now helps talented women in business, like you, to speak up in meetings and conferences, get their voice heard and radiate charisma, confidence & gravitas.

If you have any questions for Esther about the way you come across in business, as a leader or when you’re chairing a meeting, fire away.  Ask anything.

Email; [email protected]


Dear Esther,

Thanks to your advice I’ve got a lot more comfortable with making presentations over recent years, but I still have a way to go.

I feel really confident in one on one situations as I can feed off the person’s responses. However, I have a pretty intimidating presentation coming up to a big group of senior colleagues at the University. How can I keep the confidence and personability of a one-to-one setting in a large group of people who have different, interests, approaches and reasons for being there?

You help is greatly appreciated!

Jo, Oxbridge Faculty Member UK


Hi Jo,

I’m so pleased to hear that you’ve come a long way in recent years and that you are pushing yourself to present to a large senior group of colleagues.

Many of the things you already do at work in one-on-one situations will translate to large group presentations. Here are my 4 top tips.

Tip one – Speak to ‘YOU’

You cannot possibly speak to every single person in the audience whether there is five or 50,000. But don’t then make the mistake of keeping your audience at arm’s length because what you can do is speak to ‘YOU’.

Just act like you ARE only speaking to one person – and it’s a fun, intimate conversation where you can be open and yourself. This relaxes your audience and makes them amenable to your suggestions.

Tip two – Tell a story

Think about any children you know, they probably can’t remember what they had for breakfast, but they can remember the last story they read. Why? Because stories allow the audience to connect to messages in a much deeper way.

It’s the same with presentations – a story, painting or picture will illustrate your point and punctuate the key themes of your presentation, without hammering your viewpoint home. It makes what you are saying more engaging and therefore memorable.

It also gives you the opportunity to have a sense of humour and come across as a warm and real human being! (Shock horror!)

Tip three – Ask the Audience ‘What do you think?’

Sometimes speakers shy away from this when they are in a larger group, however, it is so much more impactful in a big group with more voices – let the audience do the work!

Through participation, you are collaborating. If you craft ideas for change together then the audience feel ownership of the future implementation of the ideas that you have discussed.

Tip four – Be sassy and confident

The other tips are all about being warm and enigmatic. My final tip is about never apologising for being the sassy and confident you. Make sure what you wear and your hair and makeup (Your armour) make you feel confident too and this will help you to have strength and power in what you say.

Remember. Power + Warmth = Winning Combination

You’re going to absolutely nail it!

Esther x

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