College: Giving Presentations

Presentations are stressful things at the best of times. It's not easy to get in front of class room of people, especially alone, and talk. But presentations are a necessary part of college. I've lost count of the number I've had to do over the last three semesters and there are more to come this semester. Here are some tips on how to make giving a presentation easier.

Make notecards
Get a stack of notecards and list out all of your main points. I make these for almost every presentation, but I rarely ever use them. It's a good stress-reliever, knowing that I have them. If I ever get off-track, I know I can just glance down and check to see where I am. Make sure to number them, though, in case they get dropped.

Breathe and read slowly
This is very important. Don't forget to breathe. It will also help to slow you down. Take your time and speak clearly. Don't rush.

Keep distracting behavior to a minimum
It's easy to fall into repetitive behaviors when doing a presentation to calm yourself down. Try to keep it a minimum. Don't mess with your hair, shift your weight a lot, bounce your foot, or anything else that can distract from your presentation. Stand comfortably and relaxed, and keep your hands down or balanced on a flat surface (try not to hold anything that might not shake).

Look around the room
Make eye contact with the audience. Don't just stare at your laptop, notecards, or paper. Look up often.

Allow time for questions
If there's a set time limit to presentations, make sure that yours will be short enough to allow a few minutes for questions at the end. Don't run away when you finish. Stop, smile, and ask if anyone has any questions.


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