5 tips for succeeding at giving oral presentations in class – even when you are nervous or new to speaking
by Kashfe Rahman, Graduate of UC San Diego
Let’s face it! Oral presentations are pretty dreadful to do. Most, if not all of us, get anxious whenever we see on our syllabi that a presentation will be worth a huge percentage of an overall grade.
In fact, many students feel inclined to drop their classes for that reason. Why? Well, presenting, in a nutshell, is giving out information about a topic you might know little to nothing about in front of many people and hoping they’ll listen as well as understand.
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Why This Matters
Being able to speak in front of people is a valuable skill that must be attained in order to succeed in professional fields. Oral presentations in college classes are good baby steps to ensure the fear of public speaking can be overcome. Here are some useful tips on how to overcome nervousness when it comes to public speaking!
Tip #1 – Talk to Your Professor
Talk to your professor if you feel nervous about presenting. He or she talks in front of people on a regular basis, and will be more than happy to guide you. They understand the anxiousness that comes along with speaking in front of people, and can give you tips on how to overcome it in your oral presentations.
Tip #2 – Surround Yourself with Positive Thoughts
Surround yourself with positive thoughts. Do not convince yourself you’re going to do horribly. Instead, tell yourself that you’ll do well when presenting. The more you can imagine yourself being successful, the more likely it will happen.
Tip #3 – Be Prepared
Prepare in advance! This is important, especially if you’re a beginner public speaker. Do enough research for your topic, outline all of the necessary info, and practice your presentation.
Practice in front of a mirror until the presentation flows smoothly and is mostly free of errors. You can do well come presentation day with enough preparation!
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Tip #4 – Take Deep Breaths
When the day comes, take deep breaths prior! Again, surround yourself with positive thinking and do not feel like you will do horribly. Presenting can be fun, as odd as that might seem. The more confidence you have from practice and preparation, the more fun it will be.
Tip #5 – Engage the Audience
Simply asking the audience an open question or “hands up” poll gets the audience engaged and interested in your presentation. Whether it is specifically related to your topic or just a fun question to wake up the room, getting audience participation early helps relieve your stress and creates engaged allies during your presentation.
Bonus Tip – Organize Your Thoughts in LifeSpace
Use the LifeSpace Desktop or Mobile Organization App to give you a single place to jot down notes, checklists and bookmarks that you will need to be prepared to give your presentation.
- Use Notes to organize your thoughts about the topic
- Create a checklist with the specific points you want to be sure to cover
- Link bookmarks to any web research or backup materials you may need to quickly review before the presentation
With these tips, you will do great on your next oral presentation!