It’s safe to say that throughout your university life you will come up against many obstacles, making friends, running your own life, finding motivation, but the one thing that’s probably the most difficult of all is assignments. For me, although a written piece of work may be difficult it’ll never compare to my absolute hate of presentations.
However, just like many other people, it’s a skill I’m slowly but surely having to learn. I wanted to share a few tips with you, especially if you’re yet to given a presentation yet, on how best to prepare and complete this task.
Granted this applies to every assignment but starting early in the case of a presentation gives you far more time to familiarize yourself with the content once you’ve written it. That way you’ll feel like you know your presentation when the day comes, and hopefully feel less nervous knowing you’re well prepared.
2.The Perfect Powerpoint
I think a visual aid is crucial for presentations (and often required as part of your assignment brief). I may have just suggested you start this task early but this doesn’t mean spending an eternity on the design and fun animations. Your powerpoint should look neat and professional, keep a style and font and stick to it; animations will not earn you any marks. Your visual aid should be a guide to the listener, however they should not be overwhelmed with reading, less is definitely more when it comes to text; images are also always welcome providing they are appropriate.
3.Write A Script
There are many people in this world who can ad-lib their way through a presentation, making it sound smooth and rehearsed..I am not one of those people. I always suggest writing a script for your presentation, to make sure you get in everything you want to say, however it’s a good idea to get familiar with your script so you’re not simply reading off a piece of paper. Cue cards are also a good idea, if you feel confident enough, just to make sure you cover your key points.
I’d recommend practising your presentation up to 5 times. Time yourself whilst you do this to check you’re within your allotted time, and get to know the flow of your presentation. Over-practising can cause unnecessary nerves, so only do it a few times, just so your comfortable. If possible, practising in front of someone can really help build up confidence. Practising with someone who will also be presenting in the same session may also be useful, as someone else will be familiar with your content, and have your back in terms of moral support.
Something that I all too often forget is that, especially in the case of university classes, everyone there wants you to succeed, and completely understand if you’re a little nervous. Tripping over a few words here and there is completely normal; take a breath, fix your error, and keep going. Try and look up and smile, even if you don’t look at anyone directly (I’ll often choose a spot on the back wall), you appear more engaged than having your head in a wad of paper…I guess that loops back to tip one: get familiar with your content as early as possible, and you will find your delivery at least a little easier.
I will never profess to being any good at presentations, and neither will I deny that I still get ridiculously anxious prior to any one, regardless of length or size of audience. However, it’s a skill that I have, and you can improve on with practise. Mistakes and nerves are completely normal, but it’s whether you can push through them that will make or break your presentation.
I really hope this was helpful to some of you; best of luck with your presentations in the future!
Take Care Everyone, I’ll Speak to You All Soon!