Have you ever left a lecture, a talk or a work event were a presentation was given and you felt inspired by the speakers’ pool of knowledge? Their ability to impart that knowledge? And their capacity to strike a chord with people in the audience? Ever wanted to be the individual that has an undeniable presence in a room and wow people with your outlook on a particular topic? Look no further because we’ve got ten top tips on how to do just that..well kinda. As assignments are looming in semester one, you’ve no doubt got to give a presentation at some stage. Instead of dreading it like a dark cloud circulating from high up above, why not follow these simple steps below and enjoy it.
"A good speech should be like a Woman's skirt: Long enough to cover the subject and short enough to create interest. "
(1) First and foremost – Look the part, all eyes are on you so it’s probably best to iron your shirt and spruce up a bit. You might even feel somewhat less nervous if you look fairly decent –‘fake it until you become it.’ Also, being hung over is not advisable. There’s too may obstacles to cross to even make it into college, let alone present in front of your peers.
(2) Check all IT is working correctly and if you're using your own personal laptop remember to change the screensaver settings to something neutral. Don't have a mosaic of mad boozy weekends with your mates-trust me I’ve been there, it’s not a good look my friends. Check out this video of Steve Jobs's demo fail and notice his proactive approach to a compromising situation.
(3) Prepare,prepare,prepare-if you’re not that extrovert, or theatrical when it comes to public speaking at least produce some worthy content that will engage the audience. Remember, as hard as it is to give a presentation, it’s just as painful to listen to a boring one.
(4) Speak slow (But not too slow so people lose focus) but certainly not too fast so you’ll end up sounding like news anchor Evan Baxter from Bruce Almighty, ‘I like a do da cha cha.’ Speak with a strong voice, again, don’t overdo this one, sounding like Cher is the least of your worries. Find the correct balance-moderation is key.
(5) Use anecdotes, let’s revert back to Leaving Certificate English terminology here. Use ‘a story within a story.’ When someone can identify with what they’re discussing, it makes it that bit more special and memorable.
(6) LOOK UP! One terrifying aspect for individuals doing a presentation is to look around the room and to focus on more than one person. We tend to stay close to the source of knowledge and clutch our notes like they're our only means of survival. Of course this is tremendously easier said than done, but it’s really not that daunting, you may even see a few spectators' heads nod in agreement with the points you’re making, encouraging you to continue with your prowess.
(7) Make three clear points at the beginning and stick to them. Don’t divagate and don’t read the slides verbatim in a moment of utter panic. Remember you want your audience to learn something. Try to present in a way that will interest them, even if the topic is relatively dull, you can make the presenting aspect captivating by showcasing lots of energy, but not too much because you don’t want to end up like crazed Riverdance fanatic Father Noel (Graham Norton) from Father Ted. And if people in the audience don’t respond to your questions- don’t immediately put them down on your list of enemies either. Universities encourage healthy democracy, it's par of the course guys.
(8) Own your subject – “Own that Ponytail, work that up do!” Generally when you wholly know your topic, that can resonate with the audience. Furthermore, if you’ve any zeal for the subject, this will enhance your presentation. This will be reflected in your delivery, body language and knowledge.
(9) Throw in the odd joke if it helps, but don’t expect a tumultuous applause or standing ovation, things can get awkward. Everyone likes a funny person but take into consideration what happened to fun Bobby. Don't be crestfallen if no one gets it, at least your Mom thinks you're cool.
(10) Practice makes you Oprah- Rehearse your presentation and you have a much better chance of being effective. Irrespective of this, don’t be too hard on yourself if you forget the odd line, learn to improvise. The audience are on your side and are more tolerant than you think. However, If all else fails, don't hesitate to call Toastmasters.
“If you’re presenting yourself with confidence you can pretty much pull off anything”