Many adults, teens, and children fear making an oral presentation. However, mastering public speaking is vital to almost every future path a student will take—whether in higher education or a career.
This checklist will give you lots of pointers on how to do a presentation in class with minimal stress.
In order to give an engaging presentation, you need to know what you're talking about. You don't have to become an expert, or read every book or website ever written about your topic, but you should be able to answer any questions your teacher or classmates might give you.
Get quotes from reliable sources. Good quotes make a good presentation great.
Make sure your sources are trustworthy. There's nothing that can quite break your confidence like a fact that turns out to not be a fact.
Use pictures, diagrams, graphs or other visuals to illustrate your ideas. You can have a title for the slide that explains the point you are making and a caption under the visual to explain what the audience is looking at, but try to minimize the text you have on your slides. If you need to list items, you can use a bullet point list on a slide, but try to have the majority of your slides as mainly visuals.
If you want to avoid committing mistakes, you need to rehearse your presentation as much as you can. Practice helps you become more familiar with your material and you'll feel a lot more confident.
Making eye contact with individuals gives them a sense of involvement in your presentation and helps to convey your objectives on a personal level. Make sure that you share eye contact with all members of a small audience and all areas of a large audience. Regularly shift your focus around the room, not so that you look nervous, but to help involve as many people as possible in your talk.
It is perfectly OK with most teachers if you use 3 x 5 cards or notes written on paper to remind you of what you want to say. Don’t write out everything you are going to say, because reading a script sounds boring. Just write down the important words or phrases that remind you of what you need to say about each slide.
If you get stuck or nervous in the middle of your presentation, saying “um” or “Ah” feels good because it fills the silent room. There are 2 quick fixes: Talk slower and add pauses for emphasis.
Move your hands! Point to a picture on the slide, add gestures, mimic a motion, and use your hands to emphasize the expressions on your face. It will also channel your nervous energy into a better place.
Amazing public speakers alternate their voice and tone between loud and low, excited and serious, soft and dramatic… this is called “vocal variety” and it keeps people tuned in to what you have to say.
Be animated about your topic. Talk about it as if it was the most interesting thing in the world.
Visualize success before, during, and after your presentation. Be humble about what you do — no need for cockiness — but imagine a successful presentation at all times. Don't let the thought of failure creep into your mind. Try to do the best you can, but if you're getting nervous, remind yourself that there are much more important moments in your life to come.
Make your conclusion exciting by introducing a final statistic, or come up with something creative to do at the end. Your conclusion can be anything so long as your audience knows you're finished.
You may tell a story, maybe one with a personal note, or ask a provocative question.