When it comes to presentations, most students dread them. It can be hard to speak in front of an entire class and the professor. It can bring feelings of anxiety and stress. As college students, presentations are always going to be required no matter the classes we take. It challenges students to get ready for public speaking, which is an essential skill in our daily lives. However, some students might not always know how to prepare for it. With that being said, here are 5 tips on how to prepare for your next presentation!
1. Create an outline on what you will be presenting
An outline is basically a general description of the main ideas about a topic but not necessarily going in detail. Having an outline is one of the best ways to organize what you will be talking about when presenting. Instead of reading off of papers while presenting, students can just look at their outline and know where they are in the presentation and what main point they need to present.
2. Practice your speech as much as you can
Sometimes as students, we think we can just go up and present by reading off of a paper and that’s that. Good presentation skills come from practice, whether it’s in front of a mirror or a wall or even while you’re in the shower. If you have a couple of days or weeks before it’s your turn to present, it’s best to practice well ahead of time so that you are well prepared for your presentation. Know what you will talk about (use your outline!) and how you will present yourself in front of the classroom.
3. Time yourself as you practice
Professors sometimes have a time frame for how long they want the presentations to be. In order to prepare for that, it’s always best to time yourself as you practice. Use your smartphone or a watch to time yourself so that you don’t go over or under the specific time frame. Pace yourself. Make sure you aren’t talking too fast or too slow because that will have an effect on how the audience perceives your presentation.
4. Practice in front of other people
Another great way to prepare for a presentation is to present in front of people, especially people you are comfortable with. Once you get used to that, it won’t be so nerve-wracking when it comes to presenting in front of the class. Some people you might want to practice presenting in front of are your friends, your family and even your roommates. Be sure to ask them for constructive feedback so you can improve the presentation. You can also try recording yourself to see what you can improve on in terms of body movement and your tone of voice.
Lastly, remember to relax before going up to present. Don’t think too much on the outcome of your presentation or what grade you might receive if you possibly mess up. Go up and present the way that you’ve been practicing. You’ve worked hard to prepare for this moment. Making a mistake is not the end of the world. Take a breath and keep moving forward. Use the experience to prepare for the next presentation. Once you’re up there, take a deep breath and you’ll soon realize that it isn’t as bad as you thought it would be.
With these 5 tips in mind, you’ll be sure to do well on your next presentation! For more tips on how to prepare for presentations and public speaking, be sure to check out these articles from other Her Campus chapters.