When you present, use smiling to connect with the audience.
The audience wants to feel that you care about them. Most of the times you meet your friends, you probably smile. Why do you do that? Because you are pleased to see them, you have something interesting to say, you are relaxed and confident around them.
So, when you meet the audience, smile – just like you would with your friends. It will create the same dynamic: audiences like and trust a presenter who wants to be there, has something to say, and is confident.
Some people complain that this feels fake and forced. It will come across that way only if you pretend and are not sincere. Be genuinely pleased to see them.
Nervous presenters don’t like to smile. In fact, they often have no facial expression at all. This is very off-putting to most audiences: it feels like the presenter is not sure of themselves, like they don’t care about the people they are speaking to, and that they are robotic, without any humanity.
Don’t keep smiling all the way through, though – that would make you look like a salesman, or somebody with a psychiatric disorder. Start with a smile to get the audience’s trust. Then smile at different times during your presentation when you say something funny or when you want to raise the mood of your audience.
Choose your smiling with care. With some topics, smiling might not be appropriate. But you can still use it to show kindness and empathy, even with the most serious of subjects.