Present Like a Pro: Five Public Speaking Tips For Your Next Presentation
Every student must present in front of their peers and instructors at least once during their academic career. If you dread public speaking, you’re not alone! Follow these 5 public speaking tips to present like a pro!
It may seem obvious that you should come prepared for your presentation, but I think it’s important to go over what that really means. Almost all students remember to complete and edit their presentation until it is attractive and error-free, but if you really want to present like a pro, PRACTICE is key. Practice the spoken part of your presentation until your speech flows naturally. It may be helpful to practice in front of your friends or videotape yourself so that you can pinpoint and work on any parts that sound especially awkward.
Connect with your audience
Part of coming prepared involves knowing your audience! Remember that often, your audience is not as knowledgeable as you are in the topic. Make sure that at the beginning of your presentation, you define or explain any complex words or concepts that you will be referring to throughout the presentation. If the presentation includes a question period from the audience, make sure you are prepared to answer questions about your presentation! Know its content like the back of your hand, and it doesn’t hurt to read up on background information. This will help you to make even the most complicated presentations seem totally relatable to your audience!
I know this sounds like such a cliché, but it’s important to be yourself during your presentation! Often, students can sound scripted or robotic while they are presenting. To avoid this, rather than reading from a word-by-word script while you present, try to only rely on an outline of main points that you want to hit in your speech. This way, you will sound natural and smooth while still discussing all the important information!
Overcome your nervousness
It’s difficult to give an effective presentation while you are nervous, so it’s important that you use strategies to calm your nerves before and during your presentation. There is no “one strategy” that works for everyone, so try to find what works best for you! Here are some ideas that work for me. Try a few during your next presentation and see what works for you.
- Take a deep breath before presenting and I often visualize myself presenting in front of my peers and instructors.
- Find a friendly face in the crowd, someone you trust, and if you get too overwhelmed or nervous during the speech, look to that person and it helps to calm down.
- Some people like to look slightly above the audience’s heads rather than staring directly at any one person, which is a great strategy as well!
Start and finish strong!
Ideally, the strongest parts of your presentation should be the beginning and the ending. An effective introduction will grab your audience’s attention and get them excited to hear the rest of your presentation. In addition, a great ending will leave your audience with a great impression of your speech, leave them thinking, “Wow, what a great presentation!” Of course, ideally your whole presentation should be great, but make sure to put extra care into these two sections!
These five public speaking tips helped me excel, and hopefully they will help you on your next presentation as well! Speaking in front of an audience is nothing to fret about, just remember to be prepared, connect with the audience, relax, be yourself, and have a strong intro and closing.
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