Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Are you giving a presentation this semester?

Are you giving a presentation this semester?  How do you feel about speaking in front of a group of people?  Public speaking can be daunting for a lot of people, but here are a few hints that may help you feel better prepared and less nervous.

Know your topic: it is important to be familiar with the topic of your presentation so that you can feel confident speaking about it and answering questions.  Reading your slides, or reading from notes, is not very engaging for the audience.  Use your slides to state your core points but tell your audience about any supporting information or examples.  They could read your slides at home; if people have turned up at your presentation it is because they want to hear what you have to say!

Rehearse: as well as knowing your topic, it is very helpful to know how you sound before you stand in front of an audience.  Even if it feels odd, practice your speech aloud.  Consider how you appear to an audience: are you shy and mumbling or are you confident and clear?  Time yourself to ensure that you can fit the whole presentation into the time allowed.  Rushing the end of your presentation, or running over-time, makes a poor impression.

Know the environment: always turn up early to ensure that the room is organised in the way you want it to be.  Ensure your laptop/USB/projector works in that room; if you need sound, ensure that there are speakers.  Solve any technical difficulties before your audience arrive.

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