As the end of winter quarter approaches, the challenges and pressures are increasing in all majors for everyone approaching their last spring term before they graduate. For example, Public Relations majors (that means me!) are required to do what some people fear most…speak in public. Even though our professors are preparing us with helpful tips on executing a good presentation, I still feel the anxiety building from my fellow classmates, and I must admit, myself.
Growing up in a society that thrives off of media news, gossip and social media, I find it funny that we, in general, have so much trouble getting in front of a group of people and giving an educational presentation. Why are we so scared? We shouldn’t be scared because we have been practicing our social and communication skills basically everyday since we were born. The posts and pictures we post on Facebook are on display for the public to see, so why is public speaking so hard?
My conclusion is that people love attention, but hate being judge. Facebook doesn’t require educational statements in each post. People are judged off of how interesting they are on social media sites, not how smart they are. On the other hand, a presentation requires that you teach a group of people that could know more about your presentation than you. Talk about PRESSURE to impress your audiences, or in my case, get a good grade!
Now, through lectures and blog posts, I understand that the presentation isn’t about me! It is about the material I am presenting. Once that clicked, the cloud of anxiety that surrounded me lifted. Here are three easy tips to giving a good presentation.
People like stories, so be passionate about what you are presenting and relate it to your own experiences if you can. It is no fun to listen to a speaker who doesn’t want to be there.
Visuals are important.
In general, people will learn more from the presentation if they can pair visuals with the information they learned. Make sure that you keep your presentation cohesive and match a picture with what you are talking about. Don’t forget that you are also something for the audience to look at, so be enthusiastic. Don’t distract away from what you are saying with obnoxious or awkward body movements. Lastly, remember to smile.
Intrigue your audience, but keep it simple.
Keep it simple. People can only take in so much information at one time. Through simplicity, make sure that you keep your audience intrigued. Visuals are a good way to stimulate attention. Contrasting ideas, as well as triggering people’s emotions will keep people from getting bored.