Being at a business school, I’d say I know a thing or two about giving a successful presentation. If you couldn’t guess, it’s all about how you present yourself and your topic…no matter how boring the topic may be. Follow a few of these tips below and you will be sure to present yourself, and your presentation, in an A kind of way.
Know what you’re presenting
- There’s literally nothing more painful to me to see a person or group stand up to present with flash cards. It really makes you, and your group, look like they have no idea what they are talking about. You’ve probably worked all semester long on this project, you must know a thing or two about it by now. Standing up with no flashcards in hand really shows your confidence towards the subject and of course your knowledge behind it. Study your slides so much that you don’t have to look back at them to know what you’re talking about! In case there are questions at the end of your presentation, it may be a good idea to read up on extra information before hand…just so you can wow the audience with your answers to their questions.
- Keep it simple, stupid! Keep your slides short and sweet with bulleted points. Your lettering should be large, clear to read, and your sentences should be super short. The less words, the better. See how short I’m making all of these sentences? For example: If you have an introduction slide about, say, the country of Dubai you may just want to bullet the following like this:
o Date settled
o Language spoken
– Ethnic groups
– Major sectors
There’s no need to write out full sentences since you will be the one doing the talking, not the slides! The slides are merely there to direct yourself in your presentation as well as your audience.
- There are some exceptions to this; if the professor specifically says to not dress up or to dress casually. Always dress your best when presenting to show you’re serious towards your class, project, and self. Girls should never wear shirts that are low-cut or skirts/dresses that are more than an inch or two above the knee. It sounds very conservative but trust me, any girl can look sexy giving a presentation without too much showing! Dressing professional for us girls can mean a suit or even a business dress with a blazer. When it comes to dressing business casual, the same thing you would wear for a professional presentation without the blazer is fine! Also, if you’re going to wear heels, please know how to walk in them. Don’t wear any heel above 2-3 inches…this isn’t a night club. For the guys, it’s all about swag. Okay, not really, but kind of. Guys should always be in a suit and tie! If it’s a business casual presentation then they are fine in nice khakis and a button-up polo. P.S. everyone should always have ironed clothes..nothing worse then wrinkles!
Pratice makes perfect
- Practice really does make perfect. Always practice your presentation as if you are presenting it at that time. Time yourself as well! Many presentations will have a time limit on them and it looks terrible if you go over or under by more than a few minutes. It’s good to practice with your team, if you’re presenting with one. Here at Bryant, the classrooms are open 24/7 which means there is absolutely no shame to grab a classroom late at night with your group, set up the projector, and “showtime”.
Don’t look nervous
- Giving a presentation is scary! Your palms probably start to sweat, your knees feel like they want to give out, and your voice could sound trembly. There are ways to beat all of this. Holding your hands in front of you and below your stomach may stop the shakes. Standing with your feet slightly apart, but no so much that you’re about to do a split, can help with those shakey knees. Taking a deep breath (last tip!) can help with the trembly voice.
- Especially with projects that require the entire class to complete a project on the exact same subject and then present it, it’s very hard to stand out and separate yourself from the crowd. Come up with something fun and exciting for your classmates to have or do while you’re presenting! Your professor will love if you ensure the rest of the class to be engaged. If you’re presenting on a country, make some cookies from that country! If you have a very long presentation, make a quick handout for your class so they don’t have to take notes! Or, throw in some funny (but appropiate) YouTube videos that have to do with your subject! Nobody really even pays attention to presentations anyways, except your professor, so there’s no reason to be embarassed with whatever “stand out” thing you come up with.
- Now that you have it all down, take a huge deep breath right before you begin to speak. Public speaking is scary for most, but by taking a deep breath you are practically shooing out the “scary-s” and saying to yourself, “you got this.” Good luck!