How to Tackle a Presentation When You Have Stage Fright

Presentations are a common part of a student’s life, especially at Bryant.

From group presentations, case competitions, or individual presentations on a research paper, it seems like you can’t get away from the dreaded moments of standing up in front of the class!

Even though this might seem super scary at first, presentations can be tackled even for those of us with immense stage fright. 

empty classroom with wooden chairs and desks Feliphe Schiarolli on Unsplash

So, take it from a competitive dancer who’s been on stage her whole life, these are the best tips to conquering stage fright:

 

Know your material, but don’t memorize it

It’s important to know what you’re talking about when giving a presentation, but that doesn’t mean just memorizing everything you have on the slides, paper or poster with you.

It’s more important to know your material well enough that you can talk about it with ease -- think of it as a conversation about your favorite thing with someone who has never heard of it. You don’t have a script memorized to talk about it, but you know it well enough that you could tell them all about it.

Our best tip for this, memorize major headings and section titles. Otherwise, the rest of the material you should know well but not memorize. This will help keep you from stuttering through memorized sections or blanking on the exact word that’s supposed to come next!

 

Look out to your audience, but don’t necessarily make eye contact with them

It’s tough to be confident while presenting, but it is possible to look confident even if you’re not feeling it.

One of our best tips is to try and keep your chin up while you speak. Most of the time the people you are presenting to are sitting in front of you so it can be tempting to look down at them. You’re better off putting your chin up and look forward, not down!

 

Take two deep breaths before you start talking

It can be tempting to get up in front of the room and begin talking as soon as you get up there. Get if over with, right?

Well, we would suggest taking a moment to take a deep breath before you start presenting. Taking these few seconds is super helpful in allowing you the time to get in the moment and get ready to present!

 

These are our best tips we’ve come up with for how to tackle stage fright during a presentation. We hope these can be helpful for you with all your presentations coming up this semester!