For most of us, the thought of making a presentation in front of our peers causes anxiety. One way to overcome that anxiety and present well is to prepare thoroughly. Below are some useful strategies for doing just that. How can you prepare the content for the presentation?Understand
- Understand the assignment and what is required of you.
- Keep in mind your audience’s level of interest and knowledge.
- Do your research if it’s required and document all your sources.
- Organize your information into an outline.
- Decide how you will present and incorporate any activities and how much time you will devote to each.
- Organize the material with a clear introduction that captures the audience’s interest.
- Make sure the body of the presentation flows by using clear transitions.
- Conclude the presentation with a summary of the main points you discussed.
- Create or find any audiovisuals you are going to use whether they’re Powerpoint slides or flipcharts.
- Write speaking notes if you’ll need them.
Practise, practise, practise
- Practise the presentation and time yourself until you’re comfortable with the content and the flow.
- Adjust the presentation until it's the right length.
Reflect: Did you rehearse your presentation until you were comfortable presenting it within the time constraints? Practising a presentation helps you figure out if and how it can be improved. It also enables you to get more comfortable presenting the material so that you’re as ready as possible come presentation day.
What else can you do to present well?
- Speak loud enough for everyone to hear in a clear voice.
- Speak slowly when discussing important or complex material and pause between points.
- Make eye contact with people throughout the room, focusing on those who seem interested.
- Know your audiovisual aids.
- Make a checklist for everything you’ll need the day of the presentation.
- If it's a group presentation, make sure you know who is responsible for each piece.
Reflect: Identify one thing you did well during the presentation. Decide on one more thing you’ll do next time you present.
What should you do on the day of the presentation?
- Gather and organize your materials.
- Dress appropriately.
- Remind yourself that you have planned and prepared well.
Reflect: Were you ready the day of the presentation? Was there anything you forgot to do or bring that you’ll want to add to a checklist for next time?
How can you deal with anxiety?
- All the planning and preparing can help you deal with the anxiety of public speaking.
- Check if Student Wellness offers any workshops on anxiety.
- Consider working with a counselor through Student Counseling.
Reflect: Did you do anything that helped you deal with your anxiety? Did anything make it worse? What could you do next time that would help you cope better?