Many people are nervous about talking in front of an audience, usually because they are afraid of making a mess of it. Ironically, it is uncontrolled nerves that are most likely to lead to a poor performance - so building confidence through preparation and practice is really important.
Giving presentations is one of the skills that employers expect graduates to have, so you should make the most of any experience you can get at university. You may need to give presentations:
a. preparing your presentation
a. Preparing your presentation
There are eight stages to preparing a presentation.
3. Main points
Prepare your talk so you lead the audience through your main points in a logical and interesting fashion. It helps if you plan for variety in the ways you present your case.
Where they are appropriate, you could plan to use:
Summarise what you have said: ‘In this talk we have discussed...'
Make your conclusions: ‘It is clear that...'
Plan to leave the audience a parting shot to stimulate their thoughts.
7. And then...
When you have written your presentation, look it over carefully, from the viewpoint of your intended audience.
Then revise the presentation.
Prepare your visuals (PowerPoint slides, Overhead Projector foils, etc).
Make sure they are clear, and that any text is big enough (24 points or larger).
b. Practising your presentation
Once you have prepared, you need to do five things before you actually give your presentation.
Practise giving your talk on your own:
Are your visuals effective? Practise using your visuals:
Unless you are good at reading stories aloud, it is best not to read from a script - it can sound very 'wooden' and the fact that you are reading it distances you from your audience.
A far better solution is to write key words, phrases and facts on index cards. Make sure that the writing is large enough to read at a glance and take care to keep the cards in sequence.
Arrive in good time. Spend a few minutes getting familiar with the room and any audio-visual equipment you'll be using. Allow yourself time to get comfortable in the space — this is your space where you will give your talk.
When people are nervous, they tend to take quick, shallow breaths, which makes their voice sound weak. This makes them feel even more nervous. Here's how to overcome this, and feel more relaxed:
c. Giving your presentation
There are four things to remember during your presentation:
As you get up to give your presentation, make a conscious effort to stand tall, take a deep breath and look as if you're going to enjoy being there.
Make eye contact with people in your audience in a friendly way. People respond much better when they think you are talking to them.
In a small room, try to make eye contact with each person in the audience; in a larger hall, make eye contact with different groups in the audience.
You are allowed to move as you give your presentation, but avoid pacing up and down or fiddling with your hands, spectacles or pen. Keep your hands out of your pockets and away from your face.
It can help add variety and interest to come to the front of the podium to deliver a telling point. Try to avoid hiding behind the lectern.
Your next step should be to print out and work through the study guide Giving a talk
There are further helpful tips about presentations in the section on Effective Seminar Presentations on Arts.Net
last updated on
October 16, 2008