You will give so many presentations in college that hopefully they will become second nature to you. If you’re not a fan of them, unfortunately for you, there is no avioding them. As an aspiring teachers, I have had to learned to embrace presentations as a way to practice being comfortable in front of a classroom. Being able to present and speak in public is an incredibly valuable skill. I’ve put together a few tips to make your presentations run smoother.
- DON’T READ OFF YOUR SLIDES (notes, board, etc.). Biggest pet peeve ever. Your audience can read! They will fall asleep if you don’t give them new information to listen to.
- Look at the class. Looking at the class instead of your presentation will make you appear more confident and will keep your listeners be more engaged.
- Keep PowerPoints short. Your PowerPoint is just there as a visual aid. Loading it with words and information just makes it visually unappealing and overwhelming to readers. Supplement what is on your PowerPoint wtih your own words.
- Speak Slow, Move Around. If you tend to get nervous for presentations, you also probably tend to speak fast. This will run you short on time and make you hard to follow. Take a deep breathe before you begin each sentence to make sure you don’t rush through it. Also, moving during your presentation, even if it’s just your hands, will keep your audience engaged and help keep your energy up.
- Look Spiffy. If you like nice, you will feel more confident. If you feel more confident, you will present better. Simple as that. Your audience will also admire how great you look.
- Speak naturally. This is hard to do when you’re in front of a large group of people, but it’s the best way to come across like you know what you are talking about. Someone who is stiff does not look like they are comfortable with the material they are presenting.
No one is a perfect presenter and it is certainly not expected of you to sound like a world leader when you get up to speak. However, you can always refine your skills. The best advice I can give is to be the person presenting that you would want to listen to if you were in the audience.
Good luck and I’m routing for you!