How to Rock your Next Presentation

This past weekend I went to Brantford to be the keynote speaker at the local track and field club. I was honoured to be asked to speak and excited to fulfill a dream of being a motivational speaker. Now I have given many speeches, and I have been playing violin in front of audiences since I was four. This was a huge help, but I still get nervous. That includes when I present in front of classmates in classes I have been in for months.  Here are some of my top tips for getting ready for a big presentation, and how to keep calm:


1. Write notes, not your whole speech


As tough as this may sound the fewer notes you have, the better the presentation can become. When I would write out the whole speech I would be so worried that I would mess up the words I had written. If you write your notes in point form, you are less likely to mess specific words up. It does take practice to get comfortable with only having notes. You need to speak from the heart or really know your facts. I promise when you leave the notes behind your presentation will be better, and your mark just might go up.


2. Drink water before you present

There is nothing worse than getting up to give a presentation and realizing you are thirsty. Make sure to drink plenty of water before you head up to present, but don’t drink too much. You don’t want to have to present while focusing on your full bladder.


3. When you start pick three specific people to focus on

Sometimes the people you feel most uncomfortable presenting to are people you know. Next time you start a presentation pick three people you are comfortable speaking to. Usually, it will be the people you know the least. I start with talking to these people and then as I get more comfortable and in rhythm I can start to look at everyone.


4. Practice looking in the mirror

Now this one is probably most people’s least favourite, but it does work. Next time you are getting ready to present, practice a few times in front of the mirror. This will show you what the audience will see and will help you figure out what to do with your body when you present. You don’t want to be stiff because people will sense tension. You also want to make sure that you are opening your jaw enough while you speak to get your words out clearly.


5. Have fun with presenting

When we are worried about presenting our presentations can become dry. This can lead to unenthused audience members and unenthused graders. If you have fun with your presentation the audience becomes more relaxed. Sometimes this means having a slide in your presentation that has a funny meme on it, telling a joke at the start to lighten the mood, or telling a funny story that will get people laughing. Either way the more fun you have, the more relaxed everyone feels.


I hope you feel a little more comfortable the next time your present and rock your professors’ socks off!