At some point in your college career, you’re going to have to give an oral presentation of some sort in front of your class. It is an inevitable part of the college experience and it is, for some of us, terrifying. I mean really, who wants 30 pairs of eyes starring at you and only you for 20 or more minutes? Well, maybe Kim Kardashian. Or theater majors.
(gif via giphy)
For many of us, though, getting up and having to talk in front of peers is nerve-racking. But good news! Oral presentations don’t have to be scary!
You’re not the only one who has to give one – the whole class does. It’s not like people are going to remember what you say, anyway (sorry to those of you who actually LIKE giving these things.) So, in order to get you through having all eyes on you for x amount of minutes, here are some tips we know that can help you out.
1. Become confident in your topic
This one is a no-brainer. The more you study whatever it is your presentation is on, the more comfortable you’re going to be when it comes time to talk about it. If your topic is “Endangered Panda Bears”, take the time to study up on pandas for a month or so leading up to your presentation. Do NOT leave your research to the last minute! Become an expert on those pandas.
2. Make note cards
Make note cards for a reference when your up there! Jot down quick notes that you don’t want to forget to touch on. Try to avoid writing full sentences so that you’re not tempted to read straight from the cards. Nothing says you don’t really know what you’re talking about like reading straight up sentences on a piece of paper in front of you.
3. Get a good night’s sleep
Do not pull an all-nighter doing last minute researching and practicing. Sleeping is the best medicine for anything. The more sleepy you are, the more forgetful you are. Blanking during the middle of a presentation sounds like a staight-up nightmare – don’t be that guy. A good night’s sleep will give you the energy and alertness you’re going to need when it comes time to getting in front of your peers and professor.
4. Eat breakfast
Again, about the energy thing. A healthy breakfast has only good benefits. It’s the most important meal of the day because it is the first food that gives your body energy. A good night’s sleep AND a good breakfast? You’re already on your way to a killer presentation.
5. Drink coffee
Coffee has different effects for a lot of people. For myself and a lot of people I know, it makes me wanna talk. And gets me excited for things. SO if you’re a coffee drinker, make a point to make yourself a good cup of joe the day of your presentation. You’re gonna get that caffeine boost to turn you into the version of yourself that wants to be productive and get ‘er done.
6. Don’t read from slides
This just looks bad. So so bad. Don’t do it, please. Like I said before, do yourself a favor and research your topic thoroughly so that you won’t even need a PowerPoint to get your message across.
7. Project your voice
You may naturally be a soft spoken person, but you really need to tell your vocal cords to toughen up. Pretend that you’re talking to your 75 year old Aunt Nancy who has severe hearing loss. No one wants to listen to a mumbler. People are usually impressed by someone who knows how to project their voice appropriately.
8. Dress confidentially
I forever stand by the phrase “Look good. Feel good. Play good.” This may not be girls’ hockey we’re talking about, but it gets the same point across. The better you feel about your appearance, the more confident you will be standing in front of a group of people.
9. Practice in front of friends
Ask one or two of your friends to be your practice audience. Have no friends? Practice in front of a stuffed animal. Have no stuffed animal? You have no soul. But seriously, if you practice out loud what you’re going to say, you may catch some things that sound more awkward out loud than how it sounded in your head. It’s better to catch that before you talk in front of your class!
10. Remember it’ll be over faster than you think!
Thankfully, presentations don’t last forever. That actually sounds like what hell would be like. Remember that it will only last for a very small amount of time compared to the grand scheme of life. If you follow these 10 tips, the presentation will go by even faster than it already will! Good luck!
How do you prepare for oral presentations?
(featured image via iStock)