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Giving Presentations

This guide will help you design and deliver an effective presentation. It's full of tips for both beginners, who need to learn the basics of delivering a presentation, as well as students who want to perfect their presentation skills.

Tips for Overcoming Anxiety

It's normal to feel anxious before a presentation. Some nerves and adrenaline can help you deliver an engaging presentation, as it shows you care about your topic. But feeling too nervous can also get in the way of a successful presentation. Try the following tips to reduce presentation anxiety.

  1. Practice! 
    • You should generally avoid memorizing your presentation word for word, but you should practice enough so that you feel familiar with your presentation. 
       
    • Try practicing for friends or family. Stand up as you would during your presentation, and present to them without reading from a script. Ask for feedback. 
       
    • Record yourself. Use your laptop, cell phone, or tablet to record yourself delivering your presentation. Watch your video to see if there's anything that seems unnatural or needs to be changed.
        
  2. Use visualization techniques
    • Imagine yourself delivering the presentation in your classroom. Imagine that you're doing a great job and your audience is responding well. As you visualize yourself, try to feel only positive feelings. Recall this positive image just before you present. 
       
  3. Use deep-breathing techniques
    • Breathe deeply before you present to help calm your nerves. Breathe in deeply, and then exhale your breath slowly. Do this a few times until your breathing has slowed and you feel more relaxed.
       
  4. Make eye contact
    • Making eye contact with the audience is an important of delivering an engaging presentation, but it can also help you deal with nerves. If you feel nervous looking at everyone, select a few people in different locations of the room who you're familiar with to make eye contact with. Look for friendly faces and focus on people who are smiling and attentive. Don't worry about those who have chosen to ignore your presentation.
       
    • Holding eye contact with a person for at least a few seconds can help you feel more like you're talking to just 1 person, rather than an entire room. 
       
    • Make sure you move on to another person at appropriate intervals. A good rule of thumb is to move on to another person at the end of a sentence. 
  5. Exercise & Eating
    • ​​Make sure you've had something to eat before your presentation... but not right before! Leave a few hours between your last meal and the presentation if you can.
       
    • If you are able to, exercise shortly before your presentation. Exercise can help expend some excess adrenaline.