Presentation Thoughts?

Oral Presentations, I will admit, are not my favorite thing in the world. I am aware though that they are unavoidable, especially in a field that requires you to convince people that what you’re researching is legit if you want a paycheck. Future Practicalities aside, I do believe it is important to utilize oral presentations as Public speaking is a vital skill not just in a school environment, but in a “real-world job” environment as well.

My personal preparation for an oral presentation is not extremely extensive, though it will vary based on duration and significance (in regards to a grade, or a paycheck). Normally I jot notes down as a “cue card” and have that with me during a presentation, but I will use Notecards if they are in front of me. Also, rehearsing is something I tend to do, at least 4 or 5 times with friends.

There are a few valuable lessons I have learned from past presentations that have aced the criteria in the past. Meaningful movement (not swaying, but not standing in front of the projector or computer monitor the whole time) is important, as it shows your investment without you having to spell it out to your audience. And with the audience, focusing on the audience more than your presentation is also important. It shows that your presentation is in fact meant for them, and not your own self-assurance. If you have a nervous tick (muscle spasms, twitching, etc.), make sure you don’t draw attention to it purposefully. More often than not, they’re more likely listening to what you’re saying than looking at what you’re doing elsewhere (don’t challenge that logic, you’ll make everyone in the room uncomfortable).

 

Really the only meaningful advice I can give someone is to never let yourself stress out about a presentation. One of the most common reasons I’ve heard from friends in them “failing (I use this term loosely because it’s their personal opinion)” their presentations is that they psyched themselves out prior to presenting. If you overthink or grow paranoid as to whether or not your presentation is good or bad, you’re more liable to choke or blank when it comes time to actually present. This doesn’t necessarily mean you will break down and turn off at the podium, but your mistakes are more likely to be frequent and obvious to everyone. Work hard on a presentation (obviously), but don’t traumatize yourself while doing it (there’s no need to have a “‘Nam Flashback” over one presentation).

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