For the lucky few, presentations are no big deal. Something to enjoy, even. But for the rest of us, we can imagine nothing worse than standing there and giving your work up to public scrutiny and the glaring eyes of classmates. That’s how I felt at least. Don’t worry though, there are things we can all do to make the whole experience a little less terrifying.
Here’s a list of the 6 best things to remember next time a presentation is looming:
Know Your Stuff
It sounds obvious, I know, but knowing what you’re talking about can really help with your confidence (and if we’re being honest, it’s all about confidence). Losing your place on a cue card or script can really mess a good thing up if you don’t know enough to carry on without. It’s a fact of life, the more preparation you do the better whatever you are doing will turn out.
Keep Your Cue Cards Down
I will admit that having a script or some cue cards in front of you can calm your nerves, but they can also get in the way of a great presentation. If you really think you need them, keep them down on the table and try your best to avoid them – it’ll help give your presentation some life!
Find a Friend
This bit of advice requires you to convince a mate to sit and watch your work quite a few times, so a bribe of some kind may be necessary. Once you have someone, though, you can really start practising properly. Stand straight, speak clearly and don’t let them leave until you have managed the whole thing a few times. When you have it down when speaking to one person, a few more won’t seem so bad.
Don’t Go First, But Don’t Go Last
When everyone in the group needs to present, it is very tempting to wait until everyone has finished before getting yours done. At the end of the day, doing this doesn’t give you any kind of advantage, and you’ll find yourself stressing for far longer than was necessary. Wait for a few people to take their turn, and then go for it.
Messing Up Is Fine, Giving Up Is Not
There’s one simple fact we all ought to remember when it comes to group speaking: nobody knows what you’re planning on saying but you. If you mess it up, nobody will know, but if you give up, it’s obvious to everyone.
Keep to Time
If there’s one thing you can practice beforehand, it’s your timings. Get that down to what you want, and you can go into that class with the confidence you need to get any grade you want. Remember, in most cases sticking to the time limit provided will help you not to drop unnecessary marks.
There are many techniques you could try, and everyone has their own way of doing things, but if you take away anything I hope it is this: confidence is key. If you’ve done all that you can, and practised with whoever you can find, a bit of confidence should carry you through even the scariest of presentations.
This article is featured on Learning at Lincoln.