by Alexis Coronato

Sweating.
Shaking.
Stuttering.

These symptoms of pre-presentation nervousness often inhibit your ability to give an effective presentation. If you can remember these tips, the only “S” word that will accompany you in giving your presentation is smooth.

1. Prepare.

  • Do the necessary research for your topic. Don’t plan on reading everything off your PowerPoint; instead, write out note cards with key words and ideas that will keep you focused on what you want to say. The more familiar you are with the information, the easier it will be to present it.

2. Make a PowerPoint.

  • PowerPoint slideshows are effective tools that allow you to integrate visuals into your presentation. They also take some of the attention off of you, which some people find calming.
  • When making a PowerPoint, remember the 1-7-7 rule: one main idea per slide with no more than seven bullets containing a maximum of seven words. No one will learns effectively (or pay attention) when there is more information than that.
  • Find pictures that relate to your presentation; don’t throw in decorative pictures that will distract viewers.

3. Introduce yourself at the beginning of your presentation.

  • It is easier to talk to people if you can act friendly and conversational. If your audience feels comfortable, they will be more willing to participate and answer your questions.

4. Remain calm and focused.

  • Some people tend to ramble and get so far off their topic that they struggle to find a way back. Use your note cards and PowerPoint to guide you through the presentation, but don’t read from them word-for-word; keeping eye contact with your audience is important.

5. Thank your audience.

  • At the end of your presentation, you should give your audience a chance to offer questions and comments. When you are all finished, thank your audience for their attention and revel in their applause.

See? That wasn’t so bad… it can be as easy as 1-2-3… 4-5!