Aside from born politicians and thespians, it’s safe to say most of us wouldn’t choose to speak in front of a large audience if we didn’t have to. The nerves that come with giving presentations are normal, but, often, elevated for students.
It’s not comfortable to be the center of attention, feeling like all eyes are on you. So below, we have some excellent tidbits to put into your mind before you step up to the podium.
While we don’t expect you to adore public speaking by the time you get to the end of this post, we hope you, at least, feel a little more comfortable when you have to talk in front of the class.
Slow down: When in front of groups, people have a tendency to speak faster than they do when having a one-on-one conversation. Keep in your mind that it’s okay to speak slowly. In fact, it will allow your audience to follow the information you are presenting as well as help you appear more confident and less jittery. While it’s natural to want to get it over with, speaking clearly and slowing down the pace can actually make for a much more effective presentation.
Use technology: Young people today are comfortable around technology, so why not make it a part of your public speaking adventure? Using slides, Powerpoint, graphics, and other visuals can help put you at ease so you don’t feel that everything rides only on your words. Your audience, too, will appreciate the fact that you’ve supplemented the information with something nice to look at.
Redirect your anxiety: Anxiety is typically an overload of energy. Those feelings of nervousness are manifested in a lot of different ways, like sweating, face flushing, etc. But what if you were able to redirect this overload of energy into something positive? This anxiety can, with practice, be exchanged for excitement. Look at your speech with exuberance rather than with nervousness, and good things will happen.
Practice: Chances are you have a friend or family member who you trust to be non-judgmental and supportive. Find this person and practice for them. It will help put you at ease before you go in front of a larger group. You can also practice in front of a mirror or use a webcam or phone to record yourself. This is not to add to the anxiety, but rather to help you feel that you know what you’re doing once you’re up there.
Don’t worry about messing up: The fear of making a mistake is very real when you’re presenting to a group. But look at it this way: what’s the worst that can happen? If you stumble over a word, you actually look human and relatable, rather than a robot just throwing out facts. This will actually endear you to your audience, so don’t worry if you mess up. Mistakes are inevitable.
It’s not forever: A five-minute presentation might feel like forever, but it’s not. Employ the old “it’ll be over before you know it” wisdom and you’ll glide right through the experience none the worse for wear when it’s over. Often, as with many obligations in life, the build-up is worse than the thing itself.
It’s good practice: You may not be in love with the topic you’ve been assigned to present, but it’s still great practice for you to get up there and talk in front of your peers. You will inevitably have to do this in college and, perhaps, in your future career so, while a little annoying, look at public speaking as helping you prepare for the future.
Let iAchieve help you get comfortable with presenting. Our tutors and professionals are experts in all things academic, including how to speak in public.
Written by Phil Lane
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