Written by Sarah Camacho
When I graduated from high school, I thought I was saying good-bye to presentations as well…my #1 enemy. First year went by and I was ecstatic that there wasn’t a single presentation on any of my syllabi. Second year started and I remember my heart stopping at the sight of “Presentation- 10%” on my syllabus.
“Do I drop the course?”…”How can I get out of this?”
For the longest time, I was willing to do anything to get out of doing a presentation. It would keep me up at night and I’d spend most of my day stressing out about it. It wasn’t until recently that presentations stopped being so stressful. Don’t get me wrong, I still get anxiety over them, but it’s definitely more manageable.
So, if you had the same assumption that you’ll be able to avoid presentations, I’m sorry to say that they will always find you! Unless you’ve successfully avoided them, then please find me and let me know how you did it!
In order to reduce some of the stress and anxiety that you might get for your first presentation or your next few presentations, I’ve compiled a short list of helpful tips. So let me help you, haha!
- Preparation is key: if you are a person who gets stressed, then I definitely wouldn’t recommend “winging it” or starting the night before. Look at your schedule and pencil in when you should start thinking about what you are going to talk about. Leave yourself enough time to talk to your professor if you have any questions. They have office hours for a reason. USE them!
- Practice, Practice, Practice! Rehearsing your script in your room allows you to practice the flow of your presentation. But if you can, find someone to practice in front of. I always use my parents or my friends…when I’m desperate I force my dog to sit and listen. Having an audience will help shake the fear of presenting in front of an entire class.
- Look above your peers’ heads: if you are afraid of looking directly at your classmates but want to avoid staring at your paper the entire time, just glance right over their heads. This will avoid the awkward and intense paper reading, but it won’t freak you out. You’ll still look like you’re engaging with your class- which will help improve your mark
- Just breathe: do not forget to breathe before your presentation and during your presentation. Taking a deep breath before you start will help you relax and hopefully lessen the nerves. In addition, breathing during your presentation will keep your pace steady. You won’t be talking a mile a minute.
Overall, figuring out ways that make presentations more enjoyable for you will make the entire experience less painful. The more presentations you do, the easier it becomes. I believe it’s all about mind games and conquering your thoughts because they aren’t as bad as you make them out to be!