5 Tips For Giving Amazing Presentations
Presenting in front of people can be anxiety inducing and stressful. As a student, it’s extremely likely that at some point on your course you are going to have to deliver an oral presentation, either to your whole tutor group or just to your tutor. Here are some tips to help get you through
1. Prepare Well in Advance
You need to be well prepared to give a great presentation. Never leave anything until the last minute as it may result in nerves during the presentation. Gather all the materials and equipment you need including the visual aids, the equipment, and presentation notes and cues well before the day of the presentation. You can write the notes but it is always advisable to practice the presentation several times before the day so that you do not have to rely on the notes. If you practice well beforehand you should have index cards with cues about your presentation rather than reading word for word from prepared text, which may be less engaging for the audience.
2. Use the Audience to Make a Good Presentation
A good speaker is always thinking of the needs of the audience. You need to take into account what the audience wants and their level of education and understanding of the subject matter. You can then tailor your oral presentation to those attributes. The most important person in the room may be the tutor but they may also use the response levels of the audience to rate your presentation. Latch onto the needs of the audience and present in a manner that makes everyone feel included to get a good grade. For instance, you can include visual aids, and charts to show effort in research and an understanding of subject matter for the tutor. For the students in the audience, you can tone down the language and vocabulary and include a questions section to make everyone feel included in the presentation.
3. Use Visuals Wisely
While visuals should not be the center of your presentation, they are a good complement. However, you need to be careful with how you use visual aids so that they do not take over your presentation. Slides and videos need to be short and brief summaries and illustrations of the concepts you are discussing. Ensure you use clear images, reasonably sized fonts, and short phrases so that you do not fall into the trap of just reading from slides. Slides should always be succinct and be a starting point from where the audience gets an overview of what you are discussing, while you develop and expand the concepts.
4. Practice Your Delivery
You will be judged within the first five minutes of getting on stage and hence you need to ensure that your delivery is the best it can be. To ensure a good delivery you should:
1. Measure your speech such that you are neither speaking too slow or too fast.
2. Rehearse and try to get out any verbal tics such as saying uhhm… and ahhh… which may distract the audience.
3. Stand straight with your shoulders back and get something to keep your hands busy such as a pen, a phone, a cue stick or anything that will keep the hands occupied.
4. Rehearse and check for the appropriate pronunciation of words you are encountering for the first time.
5. Project your voice to an acceptable level such that you are just loud enough to be heard but are not shouting.
6. Maintain eye contact but move your eyes across the room resting on different persons and not only the tutors. This helps to engage the audience which will respond better to the presentation.
5. Follow a Model
Find great models of good presentations on the subject you will be speaking about. Your tutor may have archives of successful presentations from last year which can act as a guide for your presentation. You can also get cues from the speaking techniques of authorities in the field that can inform the format you will take in your presentation. Nonetheless, the general model for a successful presentation typically involves.
1. Telling the audience what you are going to tell them.
2. Telling them.
3. Telling them what you just told them.
Following a model is very important in oral presentations as it helps the audience cling to orientation phrases that help them understand where they are in the speech. Unlike a written presentation, the audience cannot skip ahead or skim. They need you to tell them of the transitions and overall structure if they are not to get bored with the speech.
Giving a presentation in front of the class or your tutors can be a daunting prospect. However, it does not have to be so if you follow our 5 tips for giving amazing presentations . By being prepared, setting goals, practicing and having a cohesive structure to your oral presentation, you can impress your tutor and get a good score. You do not have to implement all the tips in the article at once, but working on a few areas at a time will significantly improve your public speaking skills over time.
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