Presentations – Overcoming Nervousness

We have all had moments in life when we have had to deal with public speaking, whether this is an academic presentation or something larger, i.e. teaching a classroom full of people.

A lot of people have been known to suffer from nervousness when dealing with such situations. There are a number of ways to overcome this, which are different for each individual.

The main points to follow for a great presentation are as follows:

  • Be well prepared
  • Do a dry run of your presentation before doing it for real
  • Time your presentation if there is a set time limit involved.
  • Talk around the slides rather than reading from them (add additional information)
  • Try to act confidently even if you are extremely nervous in reality
  • Don’t place too much pressure on yourself when speaking

Being well prepared for a presentation means ensuring that you practice at least once, whether this is on your own or in front of a few people.

Timing your presentation is vital because almost all presentations have a set time limit involved in them. Doing a dry run before hand will help you to gauge the amount of time your presentation currently is, and should give you a good idea of any changes that are needed before the presentation is done for real.

It is also extremely important to give additional information to your audience when giving a presentation. It is not a good idea to simply read from the slides themselves, because the audience can do this themselves.

The point of a verbal presentation is to use the content of the slides as a platform and expand on what they are saying.

For example, if the presentation was about life in the early 20th century, and one of the points on a slide read “The Titanic sank in 1912″, then you would expand on this by explaining to your audience the circumstances surrounding this event, for example, where it departed from, how many people were on board, what was the experience like for the passengers etc.

The most important thing to remember when doing such a presentation is to act confidently, even if you are extremely nervous yourself.

This is vital because acting confident will make your audience listen and trust your presentation more, and this will have the effect of making you more confident when your audience have positive comments to make about your presentation.

Finally, the key to succeeding with presentations, as with any sort of public speaking, is to remember not to put too much pressure on yourself and remember that failure is not the end of the world. If you remember this, and follow the advice given above, you should have no problem in giving a great presentation to your audience.

Article by John Courtenay