No matter how academically gifted, for the introverts amongst us, this molehill really is a mountain. To help you on your mission to becoming a presentation pro, we’ve compiled some research-supported tips and tricks.
Types of Presentations
With the rise of technology, there is an increase in flexibility with presentation tasks at university. Besides in-person presentations, there are live online presentations, and now, pre-recorded video presentations. So, what can you do to ace these various presentation styles?
· Make sure you have palm cards prepared in a reasonable font and size for reading.
· Ensure your palm cards also have presentation cues, like “Change slide”.
· If you require a multimodal element (e.g. PowerPoint slides), ensure you practise with this alongside your speech.
· Login early and make sure you are familiar with the technology.
· Make sure you have adequate lighting, and a working microphone.
· Try eliminating as many external distractions as possible (i.e. keep pets out of your room, and ensure your space is clutter-free).
· Be sure to film in a location that is not visually over-stimulating (a plain backdrop is best).
· Make sure you have adequate lighting and a working microphone.
· Film as many takes as you need!
· Some course convenors allow video editing, but some do not. Make sure to find out whether or not editing is permitted.
Preparing to Present
So, what can we do to combat these reactions?
Caffeine is a stimulant, which means an increase of activity in the nervous system and increases the circulation of chemicals such as adrenaline and cortisol.
Get Enough Sleep
Healthy sleep contributes to physical recovery, improved brain function, better concentration, focus, and learning.
Hydrate & Nourish
Good nutritional intake and hydration gives us more energy and can contribute to improved concentration and focus.
When applying these strategies to foster better wellbeing, presenting becomes an easier task. All that’s left are three key strategies.
The Three Ps of Presenting
- Preparation – What resources do you need? Have you prepared your palm cards and slides?
- Practise – Practise your presentation like it’s the real deal. Don’t forget to time yourself and get familiar with your resources.
- Projection – What are your goals? How do you foresee the presentation going?
Nervousness around presentations, or ‘stage fright’, in its most basic form is an example of the sympathetic nervous system engaging fight or flight mode. This is an automatic physiological response to something perceived as stressful or frightening (like a sabretooth tiger, or your group presentation…eek).
Making Sense of Physiology
When we experience nervousness, there are many physiological responses across the whole body. Though we can’t stop these reactions from occurring, we can make conscious choices about how we look after ourselves before, during, and after a presentation to keep us performing at our best.
With your new-found knowledge of the how and why of nervousness, tools to combat that physiological fear, and tips for preparing, your presentations should bring you success.
If you are having any difficulty applying these tools, or are looking for further academic support, visit the Learning Hub.