How to Overcome Your Fear of Giving Presentations

If you are like most people, then you do not particularly enjoy public speaking. Over the years, I have continuously worked to improve my presentation skills. I have given presentations in all types of settings including: professional, educational and extracurricular.  Additionally, I have presented in groups and individually. Although I am still a long way from perfect, I have learned some great strategies to giving good presentations. They are:

  • Dress professionally:
    • Wear professional attire but be aware of your surroundings. For example, if you have to walk up a set of stairs to get to the podium, you may not want to wear a long skirt that you could trip on.
  • Always use 3 x 5 note cards:
    • It would be a huge mistake to try to memorize your entire speech. On the other hand do not write out your entire speech (on the note cards) but rather key words and phrases. Reading a speech is a sure way to annoy your audience. Using note cards is both professional and allows you to write down key words and phrases that will aid you in giving the presentation.
  • Use visual aids:
    • If you use a PowerPoint, only have a few words/phrases on each slide. You should elaborate more when you give presentation. Use pictures if possible because it is a quick way to get your point across and will help your audience remember key information.
  • Make sure not to go over your allotted time:
    • Another way to annoy the audience is to go over the time allotted for your presentation. It sends the message that the audience’s time is not important.
  • Make eye contact:
    • This is important because it engages the audience and compels them to pay attention. Also make sure that you spread your attention with all the audience (don’t single out just a couple of people).
  • Be Prepared:
    • Practice, practice, practice. Make sure that you read the speech several times in addition to saying it out loud. It is also a good idea to give your speech to a family member/colleague/friend.
  • Be familiar with the equipment:
    • Make sure you are familiar with the equipment you will be giving the speech with. This includes making sure the PowerPoint runs smoothly.
  • Relax:
    • Smile and have fun. Your audience will pick up on your mood, so make sure it is positive and confident. Also if you make a mistake, just keep going. (Your audience might not even know that you made a mistake.)
  • Explain why you are qualified to speak on the subject:
    • This does not have to be an elaborate discussion of all your degrees and certificates, but merely a brief explanation of how you are familiar with the subject matter.
  • Prepare for the Q & A:
    • A good presenter should try to anticipate what questions their audience might ask and be prepared. On the other hand, if you do not know the answer to a question, do not guess. Simply say you do not know and that you will find out and report back. The audience will appreciate your honesty.

I also found this short video that is very informative. I have provided the link below:

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