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Important Presentation, Big Audience, HELP!

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
Hi it's me again, seem to be posting a lot in here recently!

Anyway I'm wondering if anybody has any tips on presenting skills.
I am useless at talking in front of people and in a few weeks I have a pretty important research presentation proposing what I plan to do for my dissertation, I have presented in front of people before but there will be more people watching this time and it will also be recorded on video.

I always tend to be really fidgety, too nervous, and speak too quiet. I have no confidence whatsoever and find it hard to look at people when speaking to them. I have been known to walk out of presentations and give up when it gets too much but that's not an option this year, I'm in my final year so every percentage counts.

Does anybody have any tips? (Apart from imagining the audience naked/sitting on the toilet! Does that really work for anybody? Ha!)
Seriously though, I really do not want to screw this up.
Thanks! :D

Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Practise practise practise.

    If I were that nervous, I would write out every word I wanted to say. And I would put things like gestures and breathing pauses in to my write up. Then I would practise reading it out, with the pauses and gestures, as well as changing slides or whatever until it felt alright. Then I would find some people to watch me, and ask them to make a note of where I was going too fast or slow, or when I needed to engage with the audience or display material a bit more.

    I would then edit my write up from their feed back and practise and practise and practise some more. Then I would ask if I could show them my presentation again.

    If it went well I would then write up my write up in to bullet points, rather than the whole thing, and see if I could do it without having to read it word for word. I would then consider myself ready to give the presentation. If it didn't go well, I would go back a step and work on the full write up again, including things like breaths, pauses, gestures, and other movements until it was ready for the bullet point stage.

    This is actually how I worked on presentations at uni (the last one I got an 18.9 out of 19 marks for, and the comment that I spoke naturally without having to read from a sheet - if only they knew!)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    This is great, really useful!

    Makes sense because I get told off for reading off slides and generally just being distracting whilst I'm talking, (also forgetting to breathe half the time because I'm so nervous!) so memorising what to say would be useful. Will get me a better grade too because I won't need to use notes.

    Thank you :d
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    All of what Katralla said.

    Also, if you get stuck, take a breath and a drink of water (have a glass of water to hand!) and look for your place. No one will know you hesitated.

    You can talk much more slowly than you think, which also allows you thinking-time if you need it (e.g. taking questions).
  • LauraOLauraO ********* Posts: 535 The answer to life, the universe, and everything
    Hey hmmm7,

    Have you seen these tips on TheSite? Making a great presentation

    I think Katralla makes a great point about practicing as well. Do you have someone you could present it to for a test run? Sometimes its actually harder to do it in front of someone you know, so its a good way of practicing.

    Good luck with it, sure you'll be fine!! :thumb:
    LauraO
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Get Help

    One possibility is a single session with an NLP practitioner. It works really well! This is the most common fear (next is death) so you are in good company.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    LauraO wrote: »
    Hey hmmm7,

    Have you seen these tips on TheSite? Making a great presentation

    I think Katralla makes a great point about practicing as well. Do you have someone you could present it to for a test run? Sometimes its actually harder to do it in front of someone you know, so its a good way of practicing.

    Good luck with it, sure you'll be fine!! :thumb:
    LauraO

    Thanks! Was looking for this but was looking in the wrong place :blush: I'm still not really prepared, I have a week to go to hand in but still 2 weeks 'til presenting and still not done much, just need to get on with it! Now need motivation Grrr :yeees:
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I give presentations frequently to large and small audiences (biggest was over 300 people!) and I still get nervous before every single one of them. A few tips I've learned to make sure I cover:

    1. Make sure that you know your presentation inside out. That way you can't loose your place, all you have to do is look at the slides and you will remember what you wanted to say.
    2. Don't leave it to the last minute to write it and save each version with a v1.0 type suffix - you never know when you will want to pick something from an earlier version.
    3. Don't use much animation, is distracts from what you are actually saying.
    4. Keep the slides simple - they should be a backdrop to what's being said. Remember the most important thing is what you are saying, not the slides. Keep your audiences attention focussed on that.
    5. If you can, slip a little humour in. It keeps the presentation fresh and makes people pay attention, if it's too dry they will switch off.
    6. Choice is yours on handouts - some people give them out for note taking. Personally I prefer not to because I want my slides to be a surprise.
    7. Don't be afraid of the audience, they want you to succeed rather than fail. Otherwise they will feel uncomfortable too!
    8. Focus on one person towards the back of the audience, *that* is the person you are talking to Speak loud enough that they can hear you, and the rest will be able to too.
    9. Look around the audience, try and catch the eye of a few people during your talk. This will keep their attention because they won't want to get caught *not* watching and listening.
    10. Water is your friend, you will dry up. You will also want to have a breather to catch your thought, it's a helpful tool in buying you time.

    Finally, enjoy it. It can be really liberating. You are actually more in control of the situation than you think.
  • LauraOLauraO ********* Posts: 535 The answer to life, the universe, and everything
    hmmm7 wrote: »
    Thanks! Was looking for this but was looking in the wrong place :blush: I'm still not really prepared, I have a week to go to hand in but still 2 weeks 'til presenting and still not done much, just need to get on with it! Now need motivation Grrr :yeees:

    We have an article for everything ;-) here's some tips on study motivation that may help you on your way. It might be a good idea to do a timetable to show when you will spend time on it in the next couple of weeks, so you don't leave it to the last minute?

    Most people get nervous before a presentation, so don't put pressure on yourself not to feel nerves, it shows that this is important to you and something you want to do well at. Practice and use some of the tips Slartibartfast, Katralla and Piccolo have given and be as prepared as you can be :thumb:
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    My presentation is tomorrow. I'm screwed. :(
    So close to giving the whole lot up but I know I'd regret it.
  • **helen****helen** Mod malarkist Posts: 9,235 Listening Ear
    *hug* you can do it!

    OK, a final tip -

    If you feel confident about how you're going to start - use a quote, an anecdote or maybe a reference to research? Then you'll catch the audience's attention and as Slarti says, feel in control and the rest will flow more easily. Speak slowly where possible (as Piccolo said)

    Practice it a few times tonight and then tomorrow, everyone will be on your side.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I actually did surprisingly well, was shocked with how well I did, really enjoyed it and was pleased with the grade (2:1) :) thank you everyone for the help :)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    hmmm7 wrote: »
    I actually did surprisingly well, was shocked with how well I did, really enjoyed it and was pleased with the grade (2:1) :) thank you everyone for the help :)

    :thumb: Slarti Likes This
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Well done :)
  • LauraOLauraO ********* Posts: 535 The answer to life, the universe, and everything
    Only just seen this, but wanted to say massive well done and :yippe: Knew you could do it :d
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